Practical advice for companies

The chart shows uses a traffic light system to rate how senior roles in TV and film are filled, in terms of diversity. It measures the roles Comissioning editor, Director, Producer Director, Writer, Producer, Executive Producer, Series Producer, and Head of Production. The categories measured against are Female, Age 50 and over, Ethnic Minority (defined as Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic), and Disabled. The colour ratings are Green (reflects UK workforce), Amber (Action still required) and Red (Urgent action required). In the Disabled category, all senior roles are ranked red.From recruitment through to everyday work and career progression, disabled people in the broadcast industry experience a lot of discrimination and inequality. There are things you can do to understand the barriers better and make your workplace more inclusive for disabled people.

Improve your hiring practices

You can widen the reach of your talent search. Put out calls on open platforms rather than private Facebook groups, or reach out to specialist agencies that can broaden your talent pool.

Pact has advice on hiring disabled talent, and lists lots of websites which advertise disabled talent for TV and film production.

You may also find AbilityNet’s webinar on how to do inclusive, accessible recruitment useful.

When it comes to employment length, short-term contracts particularly disadvantage disabled workers. Frequent moves between contracts can make it harder for workers and managers to make reasonable adjustments. Longer-term contracts increase the employment and career opportunities for disabled workers.

Make sure disabled workers have equal access to training and career opportunities

Make sure your training is accessible fairly, and make sure disabled people have access to mentors and role models. Only half of the disabled people interviewed for our research rated their access in these areas as equal with peers who do not identify as disabled (45% for on-the-job training, 55% for off-the-job training/qualifications).

You may find AbilityNet’s webinar on tips and tools for supporting disabled people in training and work useful.

Improve disability knowledge in your organisation

In order to become disability inclusive and draw on the wealth of talent disabled people offer, dedicated knowledge is key. We offer training to help employers get up to speed with hiring and employing disabled talent. You can contact us for details on booking.

Don’t be afraid to talk about disability, and be open to learning. Ask disabled workers about how they’ll approach their job, and put them in charge of how their work should be delivered. Unfair assumptions and a reluctance from others to talk about disability came up as frequent issues for disabled people in our research.

“It is often presumed that I cannot manage my workload and people make decisions for me. I would like to somehow explain how I can do my job before others deciding I can’t.”

“They fear bringing up the “D” disabled word (fear of offending I suspect) so I can’t reassure them or correct any misconceptions. I feel these are the biggest lost opportunities.”

You may find this video on understanding the Social Model of Disability and the misinformed attitudes disabled people face useful.

Video transcript (Word Doc)

Improve your employment practices for disabled workers

Make sure disabled employees can fulfil their potential and the result will be better for both the company and workers.

As this response in our research shows, disabled people can become some of your biggest assets:

“With drive and commitment being so important to creative careers I feel that those with disabilities often demonstrate it in spades, having had to work so hard to overcome them, but often fail to be recognised.”

Support is crucial. Career days specifically for disabled people, ringfenced internships and better access to placements for already established workers can help to broaden their skills and experiences.

It’s key to involve disabled people in designing these initiatives:

“Ask people with a variety of disabilities to help design the initiatives – and pay for their time to help.”

Make sure there’s a connection between those who organise and run interventions and those who they are aimed at:

“Events, away days and activities are often organised by PAs, but it isn’t PAs who get training in these things, so there’s a disconnect between initiatives to make managers aware and the staff who actually set up events.”

You may find AbilityNet’s webinar on tips and tools for supporting disabled people in training and work useful.

Realise the capacity to deliver change lies with you

You have the ability to address the most important changes. There are specialists who can help you deal with the challenges of making your workplace more disability-inclusive. Whether it’s at the crewing up stage or being inclusive on set, there are practical steps you can take to help.

Contact us to book a disability awareness session today.

Case studies – disability in the workplace

These case studies show both good and bad examples of approaches to disability in the workplace.

Case study 1 – supporting disabled people in the workplace as a manager

“I successfully supported another disabled person in production who was experiencing discrimination. I helped the company to not panic and get lawyers involved instantly. Instead I encouraged the company to listen to the disabled person involved and to encourage the company to not sack those who were being discriminatory. Instead the people being discriminatory took ownership of their problems and were educated and are now champions of disabled people in the industry.

The company felt very proud of what they were able to achieve and the disabled person involved felt safe, trusted and supported.”

Case study 2 – invisible barriers and the need for knowledge

“There’s such a lack of awareness about disability in the industry. People don’t even realise the barriers they’re putting in place. Whenever a producer goes on about ‘bonding in pubs’ my heart just sinks They think they are being helpful but they are putting a massive barrier up in front of many of us for whom normal socialising is really hard work. Working continuous shooting days became impossible for me and I was told get on with it or get out. I got out.”


Case study 3 – making a difference with a workplace network

“I joined the internal disabilities network and got so many useful bits of advice from people like me who have been doing the job for longer than I have. What’s made a more positive difference is having a disabled network so that issues can be bounced off other people”




Further resources

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