A survey of over 500 UK-based arts workers suggest the sector is “deeply conflicted about the best way to improve diversity in its workforce.”
The good news is 83% of the respondents indicate a strong commitment to improving diversity in the workplace. But, there is less unity on what action to take to improve diversity.
A major challenge may be the “shallow pool of diverse candidates for work opportunities’, as expressed by 61% of the respondents.
While most people disagreed senior management is a barrier, 28% of the junior respondents pointed fingers at their superiors. Only 8% of senior managers recognized a problem in their own ranks.
When asked about ways to increase diversity, more than eight out of ten respondents favoured staff training, targeted initiatives to boost diverse organizations and incentives to increase the diversity of those entering arts careers. But there was much less consensus around whether penalties, quotas and ‘naming and shaming’ should be introduced.
Quotas did not get a resounding endorsement with only 25% in support. However, 45% of those who identify as diverse expressed support for quotas.
Some respondents suggest setting quotas is a “simplistic” method that would lead to “suspicion and resentment on both sides.” Another respondent wrote: “It may be that a clumsy tool like [quotas] is needed to get the ball rolling.”