Voices

Creative Access highlights the realities of finding a job under lockdown

When it comes to the creative industries, businesses have long been guilty of talking the talk when it comes to representation and inclusion, not often backing this up within their internal hiring processes.

Izzy Ashton

Deputy Editor, BITE

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Where there’s a movement for change, you can be sure there’s a brand with something to say about it, whether the message aligns truthfully with its values or not. As the Black Lives Matter protests swept around the world following the tragic and brutal death of George Floyd, many brands were quick to put out statements, to verbalise their commitment to change but not, it seemed, to action it.

The reality is that when it comes to the creative industries, businesses have long been guilty of talking the talk when it comes to representation and inclusion, not often backing this up within their internal hiring processes.

Creative Access, a diversity and inclusion social enterprise has released a new report, On the Verge, that explores the very real impact that the coronavirus crisis is having on underrepresented communities within the creative industries. It brought to life the extensive uncertainty affecting individuals both already employed within the creative industries and also those trying to break into them.

Indeed, an early survey found that 85% of current trainees are either not being kept on post their internship or are unsure if they will be. This compares to almost 90% of trainees pre-COVID-19 moving into a full-time position at the end of their internship.

We know that there is a will to make a change, but it will take more than words.

Josie Dobrin, Founder, Creative Access

The dynamic of the survey respondents was a majority age range of 21-30, with 89% from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds and 19% identified as having a disability. The report reveals 40% of respondents said they had run out of money already, or were about to do so; 67% said their mental health is suffering and 81% wanted support and access to training.

Alongside the survey, Creative Access has launched a new campaign, #MoreThanWords, a call to action for businesses to make a whole-hearted commitment to bringing in and uplifting under-represented talent within the creative industries. The #MoreThanWords pledge involves a commitment to making a change in three core areas: commit to hiring diverse candidates when you are recruiting again; champion your staff from under-represented groups to progress to senior positions; and help create an inclusive workplace so new and existing diverse staff feel valued and able to flourish.

Josie Dobrin, Founder of Creative Access commented, “we know that there is a will to make a change, but it will take more than words. We’re asking organisations to join with us to commit to bringing in and uplifting talent from under-represented communities.”

Creative Access’ approach to diversity covers recruitment, candidate support and bespoke employer training. Currently, Creative Access works with organisations like the Guardian, BBH London, Apple and Faber&Faber. As this report shows, there is much work to be done to secure sustainable careers in the creative industries for people from underrepresented backgrounds.

A commitment to change is a start but Creative Access offers its advice on what people are looking for from specific online training courses to remote mentoring and job and internship alerts. The most valuable action the respondents were looking for was a sense of fostering community spirit, or offering peer-to-peer support and a place where people can connect, share stories and, most importantly, feel like they have a chance at entering the industry of their choice.

Visit the #MoreThanWords website to sign up to the pledge.