Media Parents held a meeting about flexible working in media, and several companies were quick to support this. Herefollows a serial summary of comments from the meeting. Many thanks to all who attended and to Envy Post Production for hosting the event.
Amy Walker, Director of Media Parents www.mediaparents.co.uk is a new jobs and social networking website which will collect part-time, short-term, jobshare and regular hours TV jobs in one place. the site will give employers access to a uniquely experienced talent pool, and improve the work/life balance of parents and experienced media freelancers, keeping a diverse talent base in TV production.
so why was Media Parents formed? 5000 women and 750 men left the industry over the last 3 years according to Skillset’s latest figures. at media parents we are asking for your help to return some of these people to the media jobmarket, to stop the next 5000 women leaving, and to enable employers to find this high-calibre talent easily.
There’s a considerable disparity between male and female stats in TV – only 50% of women in TV are over 35 compared with 64% in the national workplace as a whole. here’s another stat: 62% of people have children in the national workplace – only 34% of men in TV have children and 21% of women are mothers according to Skillset’s research. this is not meant to be a sob story - Media Parents is not about complaining or criticizing the status quo in TV – it’s about taking positive action.
in the wider workplace 48% percent of parents feel they do not have a choice over whether to spend time with their children or at work, and it’s a fair assumption that this figure must be higher in media as mediaworkers work longer hours – 45 hours/week on average, compared with a 32 hour week across the entire UK economy. if that average media employee worked all year round, the difference in those hours would mean the person in media would work 21 working days per year more than the average person – cancelling out standard holiday allocation really. So what can we do about this?
Emily Booth – Deputy Editor, Broadcast magazine talked about some of the results from Women in TV Survey conducted in May 2010. Also, the subsequent roundtable discussion that took place with contributors such as Lorraine Heggessey, Oona King and Jana Bennett. Links to Broadcast articles can be found at the end of this article.
- 87% per cent of women answering the survey believed that women were at a disadvantage compared to 10% of men. The reasons for this are the unreasonably long hours and the inability to get childcare to cover that. Also the inflexibility of employers.
‘Flexible’ was a word that used often in the responses. Key points that came from the survey:
- Broadcasters should lead by example, have a crèche, they should be open to different methods of working.
- Workplace childcare vouchers should be available for freelancers too
Questions / Concerns:
“When having time off to have babies, companies forget you and then workers find it hard to combine job and childcare”
“Companies don’t take into account the balance needed, and are intolerant”
At the Roundtable discussion that followed…
- Suggestion made to have a ‘Post Programme Review’ – Companies look in detail at how the programme was managed in time and budget. Could it work flexibly in the future?
- Identify long-running formats that could work flexibly
- Improve networks for parents returning to work, and keep parents in contact when on maternity leave
- The ‘macho’ culture both in the work place and on screen should be addressed
- It’s a sterile working environment with long hours
Next: Hear what Karl Burnett – HR Director – BBC Vision had to say…
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