www.mediaparents.co.uk held a flexible working meeting attended by some of the employers and freelancers in media who support flexible working – a list of them can be found on this blog. Herefollows the final part of a series of articles summarising comment from that evening. Media Parents will be announcing another flexible working meeting very soon.
Amanda Rice BBC Head of Diversity
“It’s not just about educating and showing benefits. Be clear about what the package is that’s on offer. If we are going to solve this we need to take a three pronged approach:
1) COMMISSIONERS need to change the culture of commissioning – ie. giving green light at last minute, so companies cannot plan ahead easily, which inhibits a more creative approach to employment (late commissioning is currently working against more diverse talent and flexible opportunities).
2) JOBSEEKERS actively asking about opportunities and packaging themselves up in a way that will appeal to indies (as described by some of the job shares at the meeting).
3) INDIES being more open to the benefits of flexible working and taking ‘the risk’ to gain eg. 2 brains for the price of 1, or more diverse talent.
Jessica Sharkey, joint Director of Production at Hat Trick
Writing teams work well together, could there be other jobs that share perhaps?
Audience REAX to this – Writers aren’t the same kind of jobs, it isn’t a job share, but a partnership.
Amy Walker Director, Media Parents
Amy worked for a tiny Indie in a creative role, where she effectively job shared with the Exec Producer. The company allowed her to work flexibly because they benefitted from her skills and it cost them less – “if you work with a like-minded creative who has similar experience then there’s no reason you shouldn’t share a project as long as you can both communicate, and you are working to a brief that you both understand in the same way.”
Laura Clark Director, Indie Training Fund
The Indy Training Fund funds causes and helps people with on the job training. Could the ITF do more recruitment awareness? Should the Indie Training Fund be looking at training techniques for managers and recruiters so they bring more flexible working into the workplace?
Emily Booth Deputy Editor, Broadcast
Roundtable discussion said there should be raised awareness and think laterally
Mentoring, and the process of mentoring that helps both parties. Could it be cross-industry too? Could senior women in other industries help TV? Women in Film & TV is currently piloting a mentoring scheme for members.
Liz Mills MD, Red Spider Productions
Liz believed a lot of companies have a long way to go, as an Executive Producer, she thinks it may be hard to consider taking two SPs. Proving yourself as a team if you want to job share is important. But she couldn’t see that job sharing as a Director would work either.
Should there be an ‘idiot guide’ for companies on things to consider for flexible working?
Jane Manning Head of Production, October Films
The problem with taking on flexible workers is that quite often Broadcasters keep the Indies waiting until the 11th hour for the commission. Possible freelancers can’t wait, and have to take other work.
Joyce Adeluwoye-Adams Diversity Advisor, PACT
This goes back to the three sides working together – Broadcaster, Production Company and Freelancer.
Justine Field job sharing PM “It should be a change from the bottom up, if people ask for flexible working, they may change employers’ attitudes.”
Jude Winstanley Director, The Unit List
“There are so many in agreement here tonight, the more people approach Indies, the less they will be frightened by flexible working. More Indies are meeting more people too so get in there and ask for what you want”.
Joyce Adeluwoye-Adams Diversity Advisor, PACT
The Cultural Diversity Network is all about increasing diversity in TV– job sharing comes amongst that. Feel free to contact Joyce with CVs and she will pass to companies who are interested in employing people on a flexible basis. “Men are generally much better at asking for what they want – women with children don’t under-estimate yourselves! If you’re talented I can’t wait to see your CV. I would love it if people approached companies as job share packages”.
To contact Joyce please send an email to be forwarded to firstname.lastname@example.org Since this meeting the Cultural Diversity Network has added “working with www.mediaparents.co.uk” to its list of ways that indies can endorse the CDN’s diversity pledge. Channel 4 has stipulated that it will only commission from companies endorsing the CDN pledge. Please log on to www.mediaparents.co.uk to start working flexibly now!
With thanks to Envy Post Production for hosting this event, to Lorraine Molloy for taking the photographs, and to all those who attended and contributed to this event.