Disabled people still under-represented in TV


The Creative Diversity Network (CDN) and Creative Skillset are calling for the TV industry to look urgently at the numbers of disabled staff in television and come together to improve representation levels

This joint call comes in response to the Creative Skillset workforce survey issued in May that showed that the proportion of disabled people? in television is still much lower than in the economy as a whole and has not improved for 10 years.

Just 5% of the TV workforce consider themselves to be disabled*, compared with 11% of the wider working population.

The figures vary slightly by TV sub-sector, with the independent production workforce having the highest proportion of individuals with a disability (6%), followed by terrestrial TV (4%) and cable and satellite TV (3%).

The survey also finds that freelancers in the TV workforce (6%) are slightly more likely than permanent staff (4%) to have a disability. The workforce survey also shows that those with disability working in TV earned £2,440 less than the industry average.

The survey provided a snapshot of data across the creative industries and is the largest survey of skills and training issues of individuals working across TV. Comprising over 1,100 respondents within television, the survey asked questions about pay, barriers to receiving training especially around freelance staff and analysed the recruitment, working patterns, training needs, pay, and socio economic backgrounds of those working in TV

Andrew Chowns, CEO of Directors UK and the Chairman of Creative Skillset’s TV Skills Council said: ?The TV industry has much work to do to create a truly diverse and representative workforce. The progress that has been made in recent years to encourage more BAME and women professionals must be extended to people with disabilities. The TV Skills Council is now working on plans to achieve this.

John McVay, Chair of the Creative Diversity Network and CEO of indie trade body Pact said: TV can’t afford to miss out on the talent and skills of disabled people. Although we still have work to do to get more BAME people into TV, I’m determined that CDN will also be at the forefront of the drive to attract more disabled people.

*defined by the defined by the Equality Act 2010 as having a physical or mental impairment that has a ‘substantial’ and ‘long-term’ negative effect on an individual’s ability to do normal daily activities),

The survey found the following proportions of disabled people by television genre

Genre % disabled
Outside Broadcast 7.6%
News 7.2%
Highend Drama 6.2%
Drama 5.5%
Children?s 5.0%
Comedy 4.1%
Entertainment 4.0%
Daytime 3.9%
Factual 3.5%


Read Creative Skillset’s full Workforce Survey Report for TV