BAFTA Study: Young People 'Discouraged' From Careers in Film, TV and Gaming

BAFTA Logo - P 2012

BAFTA Logo - P 2012

The British Academy's report indicates bad advice and diversity issues are having a negative impact on the industry's future.

LONDON – Young people are "needlessly being discouraged from pursuing a career in film, television or games – with talented young people from lower socio-economic backgrounds and women at particular risk of being lost to these industries," according to a report by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA).

The inaugural BAFTA Career Pathways Survey questioned 2,077 young people aged 16 to 24 and almost 200 BAFTA members about their career decision-making processes and influences.

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The report calls on careers advisors and the film, television and games industries to establish cross-industry working groups to head off the problem.

The report points to bad advice dished out to young industry hopefuls and notes challenges magnified by poor resources, work experience, education and skills training, and also a lack of diversity.

The report says that young people actively aspiring to a career in film, television or games appear to be particularly dissatisfied with formal careers advice, with just 9 percent believing they received excellent careers advice, and 35 percent finding that it was extremely unhelpful or did not help much at all in helping them choose a career.

For a quarter of those asked, contact with people already working in their chosen industry was their most useful source of advice.

One in six industry wannabes who received unsatisfying careers advice were put off from their chosen path, compared with just 10percent of respondents who have been discouraged from a career option overall.

BAFTA says the findings suggest that careers advice to aspiring television, film or games professionals is much more likely to be discouraging, compared with other career choices.

A cliché about the industry persists, with nearly half (47 percent) of young people who had been discouraged from a career in film, TV or games being told by a careers advisor that achieving their desired job would be down to “who you know” in the industry.

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However, it is not clear whether people who received this advice were told how to access opportunities to meet people in the industry through organizations such as BAFTA.

The research also shows that the perception exists amongst teachers and careers advisors that the film and television industries are too difficult to get unless young people are able to survive on low pay.

This reason was given by 33 percent of young people who had once considered a career in these industries, but had been discouraged.

Young people were more likely to be studying or undertaking work experience in film or television if they are in the higher AB social grade (22 percent of film and 19 percent of TV wannabes) than the lower DE social grade (16 percent of film and 15 percent of TV aspirants).

And the research also throws up the findings that young women were markedly less likely to consider a career in games, with just 9 percent of female respondents having considered this industry, compared to 38 percent of young men.

Females were also more likely to be discouraged from a career in film, television or games, with 28 percent feeling that they wouldn’t fit in and 21 percent dissuaded by parents, family or friends, compared with 21 percent and 14 percent of males in the same situation.

BAFTA’s learning and events committee chairperson Anne Morrison said: “With increasing pressures on young people making career choices, it is worrying to see that potentially talented future members of our industries are unable to find the right advice to steer them onto this path."

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The report is published on the first anniversary of the BAFTA Guru learning channel, an online resource which has filmed interviews, articles and podcasts with industry professionals to help young people and career starters gain more knowledge about their chosen craft area.

Morrison added: “We call on our industries, teachers and careers advisors to equip themselves with the right information about the enormous range of fulfilling careers available – from set design to game design, to visual effects or producing - in order to give the best advice possible to the next generation of talent.”

The findings will be discussed at a summit hosted by BAFTA on Nov.15 where industry and careers experts will aim to identify practical solutions to the issue.

The film, television and games industries currently employ over 80,000 people in the U.K.