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Report: Keep over-50s in the TV industry to plug the skills gap

Report from UK Film and TV Charity finds industry could gain 35,000 workers if it embraced the over 50s

As the UK’s TV and film industry tries to fill its skills gap, a new report from the Film and TV Charity says it just needs to embrace older workers.

The report, named Absent Friends: Scaling the Film and TV Industry’s Retention Problem, compares the age distribution of workers in TV and film with that of the whole UK workforce, calculating that retaining up to 35,000 older, experienced workers could mitigate an age imbalance across the industry.

It adds that as women reach their mid-30s and men a bit older, they increasingly drop out of the industry for a better-balanced lifestyle and to pursue other interests.

Commenting on the report, Alex Pumfrey, CEO of the Film and TV Charity said: “With growing demand for talent, retention needs to be understood as a problem the TV and film industry has to address. Our Looking Glass research has already shown that long working hours, highly pressurised environments, and the difficulty of combining family life with work cause poor wellbeing, contribute to a lack of inclusion, and ultimately lead to people voting with their feet and leaving the industry. This new analysis shows that by the time you look at the number of people aged 50+ working in the industry there is a huge shortfall.

“The traditional approach is to recruit more new young workers, but if the pipeline of talent behind the scenes is already leaky, we are all running to stand still,” added Pumfrey. “To retain its older, skilled workforce, the industry needs to find ways of making production conditions more inclusive and supportive of work-life balance and wellbeing.”