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The Media Industries Staff Retention Issue


The media industry in the UK is experiencing rapid growth. Screen skills estimate that by 2025 there will be a shortage of over 21,000 crew members. How to battle this worker shortage has been the hot topic amongst industry leaders, many believing that more needs to be done in training younger generations. However, a recent report from the Film + TV charity highlights the importance of retaining older staff members. The report suggests that if older workers (50+) were retained the industry would have an additional 35,000 workers.

Retention has long been a problem for the industry, for several reasons:

  • Long hours of work.
  • High pressure.
  • Frequent travel.
  • Difficulty striking a work/life balance. 
  • Combining family life. 

When women reach their 30s and men a little bit older, there is a common trend of professionals leaving the industry in search of a better work/life balance. The retention issue has been flagged by industry leaders in the past such as Screenskills and BFI. 

There has been extensive discussion around the retention issue, but until now, no one has been able to quantify the number of people that have left the industry. The Film + TV charity’s report does just that, estimating that the industry could be losing out on between 24,000 to 35,000 staff members. This could go a long way to helping the growing need for more crew members. 

Working Together to Increase Retention:

It is vital as an industry we explore methods for retaining talent, to do this the reasons why staff leave need to be addressed. The Film + TV Charity report highlights 4 priorities staff would have if they returned to the industry: 

  • A job that offers flexible working hours (36%) 
  • A job where I can work from home (18%) 
  • A job that fits around my caring responsibilities (16%) 
  • A job that offers permanent employment (12%)

If we want the media industry to continue thriving in the UK it is vital that we keep hold of staff rather than losing a significant portion of top talent. To do this the industry is going to need to consider several factors; from pay to working hours. Additionally, the study demonstrated that older generations prefer to work in permanent roles than on temporary contracts. All this goes to show that working conditions and job quality will go on to play an increasingly important role in increasing labour market participation among older age groups. 

To read the full study click here