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The number of BAME people in music industry has decreased since 2020

A new report from UK Music suggests that employees from ethnically diverse backgrounds have been disproportionately affected by pandemic job cuts

According to the latest biennial UK Music report into industry diversity, there has been a drop in the total number of employees from ethnically diverse backgrounds within the music industry.

The findings show that just over one fifth of people working in the industry identify as Black, Asian, or minority ethnic (BAME) – which is down from 22.3 per cent two years ago. In terms of entry-level positions, the number has fallen from 34.6 per cent to 23.6 per cent. The report suggests that employees from ethnically diverse backgrounds have been disproportionately affected by pandemic-related job cuts.

The report did find some signs of progress, however. While the industry has become less ethnically diverse in recent years, participation from women and disabled people has increased. 52.9 per cent of individuals working in the industry in 2022 identified as a woman, compared to 49.6 per cent in 2020.

The number of women working in mid and senior level roles has also increased. The number of disabled workers this year also rose to 14.9 per cent, compared to 12.2 per cent in 2020. This either indicates that more individuals with disabilities have found work in music, or that a greater number feel more comfortable disclosing their condition. It’s also worth noting that two-thirds of those who reported having a disability said that they felt they had to compromise their health for work.

UK Music chief executive Jamie Njoku-Goodwin said in a statement: “The findings of our 2022 survey have been incredibly revealing, and show that while we are making progress, there remains much more we need to be doing to break down the barriers that still block people from succeeding in our industry.”

“This year, we have gone deeper than ever before, not just trying to gather as rich a dataset as we can, but also digging below the surface to try and understand the disparities we often see across the industry.”

The UK Music diversity report has now set out a new plan of action to promote and enact change, which identifies five key areas for the sector to use as a framework to boost diversity and inclusion: people, policy, partnerships, purchase, and progress. It recommends creating a safer and more inclusive culture within the industry, increasing opportunities for underrepresented communities, and urging larger companies to publish data on pay gaps.

“Boosting inclusion is mission-critical to the future success of our sector,” Njoku-Goodwin added. “Whether it’s businesses and organisations who need the broadest range of talent to draw on, or individuals who want to forge a successful career in our industry regardless of their background, it’s in all our interests to make sure the music industry is genuinely open and accessible to all.”