New report calls for significant and immediate improvements to diversity in UK media

A new report published today by Reflect, the UKs only CIC, not-for- profit diversity and inclusion talent management agency, is calling for immediate changes to improve the levels of diversity in UK media, which remains overwhelmingly white, predominantly male, and disproportionately privileged. 

The report highlights key findings to improve the media’s representation of diversity:        

  • Underrepresentationmakes people feel isolated and othered, and will cause them to switch off or disconnect from certain channels and entertainment categories.
  • There is impatience over what is perceived as box-tickingand inaccuracy when it comes to diversity, with people increasingly frustrated by surface- level efforts from media outlets, brands and advertisers. 28% of respondents viewed media organisations’ attempts at diverse representation as a box-ticking exercise, with 56% viewing efforts as inaccurate.
  • People have flocked to social and digital media platforms to find better representation after years of poor performance by traditional media. 
  • 98% of respondents said they could pinpoint a moment in time when they felt particularly negative about the lack of diverse representation in media. 
  • There is growing evidence of poor financial performance in businesses that are perceived to be less diverse in their representation.
  • Better engagement and increased dialogue with underrepresented groups is a crucial step for improving representation and ensuring brands and media outlets are doing the right things. 

These insights are based on research findings from 15 qualitative interviews with leading D&I organisations including the Race Equality Foundation, STAMMA, Age Diversity Network and The Diversity Trust. The interviews were supplemented with a further 100 survey respondents.   

Commenting on the report findings, Katie Piper, Founder, The Katie Piper Foundation said: “You can’t be what you can’t see. Everybody has a voice – mainstream media needs to catch-up.”

Jacqueline Blake, Managing Director, Reflect, added: “Media and advertising has the power to shape and change society. Today we are seeing a grassroots push towards diversity and inclusion from marginalised communities that’s being supported and advocated by consumers globally. Now is the time for real action to be taken by businesses and their leaders.”

You can find out more about Reflect here.  


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