Radio and TV must ‘look beyond London’ to improve diversity, Ofcom warns

Ofcom has called on the TV and radio industry to “look beyond London” after its annual diversity report showed there is still a gap in representation.

The broadcasting watchdog said the sector needed to broaden the geographic and social make-up of its workforce if it was to truly serve its audience.

Ofcom’s annual study of diversity in the sector indicted that employees were twice as likely to have been privately educated compared to the general population (13% compared with 7%).

Additionally, they were twice as likely to have come from “professional” family backgrounds (58% compared with 33%).

Ofcom’s analysis suggested broadcasters were collecting more information on the socio-economic background of their employees than a year ago.

However, there remained no such information for around 60% of employees.

Audiences consistently said they expected to see programmes that authentically portrayed modern life across the UK, according to Ofcom.

But the body said it was only possible to do so if they improved their measurement and understanding of social class and geography across their workforce.

Vikki Cook, Ofcom’s director of broadcasting policy, said: “The door to the broadcast industry should be wide open to everyone, regardless of what part of the country you come from, or what school you went to.

“We’re calling on major broadcasters to look beyond London and attract the best talent from a range of areas and backgrounds, so the programmes they make feel relevant to every part of society.”

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