Research by the social enterprise Creative Access has found that 85% of trainees are either not being kept on after their internship or fear there will be no full-time work at the end. This compares with a pre Covid-19 rate of over 90% of trainees moving into permanent roles. More than 40% of those who responded to the survey had been furloughed, made redundant or had work cancelled or postponed, and for 80% the priority is to find a new job or freelance work. Of more than 250 BAME respondents to a survey, 40% said they have run out of money already or are about to do so.
To coincide with the survey, Creative Access has also launched #MoreThanWords, a call to action for businesses to make a whole-hearted commitment to bringing in and uplifting under-represented talent within the creative industries. The #MoreThanWords pledge involves committing to hiring diverse candidates; supporting staff from under-represented groups to progress to senior positions; and creating an inclusive workplace where new and existing diverse staff feel valued.
The Creative Access research chimes with preliminary research findings from arts advocacy collective Inc Arts, which shows that Black, Asian and ethnically diverse people are not only over-represented in the freelance sector, but when compared to their white counterparts in both freelance and staff roles, they are already experiencing higher rates of redundancy as a result of the pandemic.
Survey responses found that, while 44% of the wider sector is freelance, this figure rises to 51% for ethnically diverse people in the arts. Despite Black people being more at risk of death from coronavirus, the biggest concern of most respondents was not for their health, but fear of redundancy and job loss.
Their concerns are borne out by the research: not only are job losses falling most heavily on freelancers, but they are falling disproportionately on Black, Asian and ethnically diverse workers – regardless of contractual status.
Research into career progression will be published later in the summer.