Creative Access Thrive 2023 data: diverse talent is ‘a future priority at all career levels’

Posted on July 19, 2023

Creative Access announces results of annual survey charting career optimism among diverse talent & employer progress towards DEI goals in creative industries

  • Respondents feeling sufficiently prepared & resourced to advance their careers has dropped since 2022
  • A third of respondents haven’t progressed in the last year
  • 1 in 5 don’t see DEI progress from their company

New research from leading diversity & inclusion social enterprise Creative Access confirms a dip in optimism about career futures in individuals from under-represented groups in the creative industries. 

The Creative Access Thrive Report 2023 comes after a gruelling year for talent as well as organisations navigating the world of work – from the return to the office, technology shifts and staff retention. The not-for-profit reflects a decline in sentiment around career prospects in disabled individuals (54% versus the average 62%), and markedly so when intersectionality is taken into consideration, for example if an individual is also Black, Asian or Ethnically Diverse (BAED) which drops to 50%.

Increased employer ED&I investment – the results?

The report findings show that despite 68% of organisations upping DE&I spend in the last year, talent from under-represented groups still faces significant barriers to progression and employers are not focused enough on addressing these, which leads to churn:

  • Only a third (33%) of individuals from under-represented groups in the wider creative industries have progressed in their career in the last 12 months – but for those who have received support services (such as: training, mentoring & networking) this significantly rises to 67% having progressed
  • And a third (31)% of individuals from under-represented groups across the creative industries do not feel they have the skills & knowledge to progress in their careers 

Under-represented talent stuck in the middle

Organisations within the creative sector such as PR, broadcast/media, publishing, performing arts and more are currently putting most of their efforts into improving diversity and inclusion at entry-level (45%), however when asked where they felt their organisation should focus their DE&I efforts, 70% said it should be at all career levels of the organisation.

How do employers support diverse talent?  

From respondents who aren’t in receipt of support services a lack of networks and contacts was highlighted as a key barrier to career progression, where only 29% of BAED individuals feel armed with career-enhancing contacts (such as mentors or career champions), this drops even more so if individuals are from lower socio-economic status (lower SES) backgrounds 24%, or are disabled 21%. Respondents largely pointed to five main career progression barriers:

  1. Organisational structures preventing progress
  2. Financial barriers (for equipment or training)
  3. Physical location where an individual lives
  4. Lack of training
  5. Lack access to networks, such as mentor or career champion

Bibi Hilton, CEO, Creative Access: ”It’s encouraging to see that despite a year of challenging economic headwinds, organisations are encouragingly still prioritising DE&I work. Whether appointing DE&I leads or teams, or increasing overall spend to reach their DE&I goals. However, while 38% admit to having a DE&I strategy in place, that means the vast majority do not, and we’re seeing the knock-on impact by way of increased poor mental health and a lack of career progression in under-represented talent who are without support. It begs the question as to whether employers are investing in the most impactful areas to acquire, develop & retain diverse talent at all levels.”

Read the report in full here.