June 24, 2022

By Guest Author

Crew shortages have been an issue across the TV & Film industries as long as anyone can remember, but recent production booms have exacerbated this issue.  This makes it even more important to be able to widen your net when it comes to the talent pool.  At Creative Mentor Network, we work to make the creative industries open to all people, running mentoring programmes that give young people from lower socio-economic backgrounds an opportunity to experience the creative industries, whilst training those within the industry on inclusive leadership and how to create an open and accessible environment. 

The Social Mobility Commission report on socio-economic diversity and inclusion in 2021 highlighted a lot of the issues within the TV & Film industries when it comes to diversity.  Whether this comes down to an overwhelming percentage of working professionals from private schools (43% at the most influential broadcasters and news editors) or a freelance culture that struggles to accommodate diversity, we all know that there’s change that needs to be made.  By making small changes to help young diverse talent thrive within your business, we can work together to try to change this, whilst also finding more crew and talent to help fill the shortage areas in screen.  Here are some things you can do to help diversify your hiring practices:

1. List your salary

Having a clearly listed salary on your job advertisements allows young people from lower socio-economic backgrounds to apply for positions with confidence that the role offers them a livable wage.  This is often the first thing that applicants look for, and reduces ambiguity, as well as helping to reduce the wage gap.  People from professional backgrounds are three times more likely than those from working-class backgrounds to want, or be able, to move to London, where they can take advantage of concentration of opportunities.  If salary is clearly listed, people from outside London can take that step in, knowing that their wage will be livable.

Within a predominantly freelance culture in production, this is even more important, as the financial side of freelance work is something which can often discourage people from lower socioeconomic backgrounds from taking the step. If you can make sure that you’re paying at Living Wage when you list an entry level job, you can help your staff feel more comfortable and supported as they step into the world of work.  Simply listing the wage will help get a more diverse applicant base.

2. Make the pathway clear

It’s commonly known that the screen industries don’t have the most direct of career paths.  A lot of work is being done in this area, but young people still aren’t aware of the routes into creative work.  Due to lack of careers education in schools – especially underfunded state schools in lower income areas – it isn’t made clear to young creatives where they need to start.  This is something where network driven recruitment has a class effect, Labor Force Survey showed that children of those in in film and television are 12 times more likely to work in those fields.

If you put in work to make the pathways into your industry clear, as well as the further journey to progression that can be taken, diverse talent can see the ladder they need to climb.  Sometimes it’s just about helping people onto the first rung on that ladder!

3. Expand your network

Network driven recruitment is the easiest way to recruit, and is the way that the screen industries have functioned for years.  It’s simple to just connect with crew from precious productions.  However, this means that bad cultures and bad hiring practices are reinforced.  Expanding networks and hiring from different places helps to equalise opportunity for those who might not have contacts to use to find them. 

There are multiple jobs boards and schemes out there to help productions find new crew, and that’s not just looking at entry level.  Our Jobsboard allows businesses to advertise to diverse talent. Organisations such as United Agents have used this to advertise for Runner positions to help new talent find their way into the industry.  But it’s not just us – there are loads of different jobs board services out there where you can share opportunities for crew, including Creative England’s very own Crew and Facilities database who post out crew calls on a daily basis. Using these not only offers young diverse talent a route in, but offers a benefit for your culture and progression.

4. Reevaluate your own practice

Doing something the same way it’s always been done is an easy way to end up neglecting young staff who not only may be able to bring fresh ideas into the workplace, but who have more expertise on new technologies and user experience platforms. 

In the Film and TV Charity’s 2021 Looking Glass report, only 10% of those interviewed thought that the screen industry was a mentally healthy place to work, with an astounding 51% saying that culture and values are having a negative impact on mental health.  When we don’t reevaluate our own practices, we get to a stagnant place where things cannot progress. 

5. Add to your culture

When hiring, you should seek to find someone who adds to your culture, not simply someone who fits what you already have.  By seeking culture fits, we reinforce preexisting ideas and we do not encourage diversity – not just of people, but also of thought.  By starting a recruitment search looking to find a ‘culture add’, you will broaden your search and find people who can bring real value and new ideas.

Ofcom’s Diversity Five Year Review report states that across some underrepresented groups, retaining staff would have a bigger effect on future diversity than increasing recruitment alone.  Hiring people who can add to your culture will help to contribute to a changing and progressing culture, meaning that staff are more able to progress within your organisation. 

If you want to learn more about Creative Mentor Network and how we’re changing the creative industries, please visit

We’re running a Break The Wall programme specific to the TV & Film industries in October, for anyone looking to develop their leadership skills and their understanding of diversity and inclusion, whilst also supporting the next generation of talent into the screen industries.

And if you’re looking to hire new talent, check out our Jobsboard and see how we can help you.

To find out about either of the opportunities above, get in touch at


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