UK Music Diversity Report 2022 header

UK Music shares results of 2022 Workforce Diversity Survey

Report reveals the number of women in the industry has reached a record high.

Liam Konemann
  • By Liam Konemann
  • 22 Nov 2022
  • min read

UK Music has revealed the results of its 2022 Workforce Diversity Survey, and unveiled a radical action plan to aid further progress.

Initially launched in 2016, the biennial survey tracks progress to boost diversity and inclusion in the UK’s music industry. Overseen by UK Music’s Diversity Taskforce, the survey focuses on the industry workforce, as opposed to creators, and saw 2,980 responses in 2022. Key findings this year include that the representation of women in the industry has reached a record high of 52.9 percent, up from 49.6 percent in 2020.

Figures also show the percentage of women in mid and senior level roles is increasing. The number in mid-level roles rose from 40.4 percent in 2020 to 45.1 percent in 2022, and those in senior roles increased from 51.2 percent in 2020 to 53.3 percent in 2022. However, the report found that more young women are accessing the industry at an early age, but start to leave in their mid-forties. Women are well represented in the 35-44 age category at 53 percent, but the 45-54 age bracket is the point at which female representation starts to drop. The numbers reduce further for those aged 55-64, with women making up 33.3 percent of the workforce in this bracket.

After the positive progress seen in the 2020 report, this year there is a decrease in the number of employees from ethnically diverse communities. Just over one fifth (21.04 percent) of individuals working in music identify as Black, Asian or from an ethnically diverse background, down from 22.3 percent two years ago. One possible explanation is that employees from Black, Asian and ethnically diverse communities have been disproportionately affected by the impact of COVID-19, which saw total jobs in the sector fall from a pre-pandemic high of 197,000 to 145,000 in 2021.

In entry-level positions, the number of Black, Asian and diverse ethnicity employees fell from 34.6 percent in 2020 to 23.6 percent in 2022. There was also a drop in representation at the senior level, down from 19.9 percent in 2020 to 18.3 percent in 2022. However, the number of Black, Asian and ethnically diverse respondents aged 25-34 rose from 24.8 percent in 2020 to 26.3 percent in 2022. This indicates that efforts to improve career progression may be starting to have an effect. 

Other areas of the report found that 14.9 percent of industry staff reported a disability, up from 12.2 percent in 2020. This could indicate that either more people with a condition are working in the music industry, or that a greater number of people now feel comfortable disclosing their condition. For the first time, UK Music also collected data relating to the menopause and the impact this could be having on careers. More than one in ten respondents said they have experienced menopause/perimenopause, and almost half of these (47.5 percent) have had their work affected by its symptoms. Three quarters of these individuals (76.6 percent) have not taken time off work to manage their symptoms.

In addition to publishing the 2022 survey results, the report also sets out a new action plan to accelerate positive change by boosting diversity and inclusion in music businesses. Called ‘The Five Ps’, the action plan maps out key areas that UK Music hopes the industry can use as a framework to deliver enduring results. The plan focuses on people, policy, partnerships, purchase and progress, and outlines suggested policies drawn both from UK Music’s survey findings and the lived experiences of those from diverse communities via a series of round-table events.

The 15 recommendations in the plan include: cultivating a transparent, safe and consciously inclusive culture for all staff; increasing opportunities for underrepresented groups; working towards a five-year EDI strategy and vision; incorporating EDI into every part of an organisation or businesses structures; publishing data on gender, ethnicity and disability pay gaps annually in larger employers; and ensuring there is a strong EDI mindset at the heart of all tendering and procurement processes.

UK Music and its Diversity Taskforce hope the new action plan will extend that work right across the music industry and beyond by providing an essential toolkit. 

UK Music Diversity Taskforce Chair Ammo Talwar MBE says, ‘Our 2022 survey shows how those from Black, Asian and other diverse communities have been hardest hit by the impact of COVID-19.’

‘The drop in the percentage of employees in several sectors of the industry is further evidence of why we must not take our foot off the accelerator when it comes to driving positive changes on diversity and inclusion as swiftly as we can.’
‘We need to create a consciously inclusive culture right across the music industry and right across the UK. Our hope is that the Five Ps - our Music Industry Action Plan - provides a robust and clear framework that anyone can use to help deliver that change.’

The full UK Music Workforce Diversity Report for 2022 can be found here