Push to Boost Diversity in Music as Just 6% of Workforce Identify as Gay

Sunday, June 23, 2024

In a bid to enhance diversity within the music industry, UK Music's 2024 Workforce Diversity Survey reveals some concerning statistics about the current state of inclusion. The survey highlights that only 6% of the music workforce identifies as gay, with heterosexual employees comprising over three-quarters of the industry. Additionally, less than 5% of staff identify as bisexual, and only 3% identify as queer. The representation of transgender employees stands at less than 2% (Evening Standard) (PRS Music).

Gender Representation and Challenges

The survey also sheds light on the gender disparities within the music industry. While there has been progress, with the overall representation of women in the industry reaching 52.9%—up from 49.6% in 2020—significant gaps remain, particularly in senior roles. Women occupy 48.3% of senior positions, an increase from 40.4% in 2020, but there is still a stark contrast when compared to mid and entry-level roles where women are better represented. This discrepancy highlights the ongoing challenges women face in advancing to higher-level positions within the industry (PRS Music).

Furthermore, the survey indicates a worrying trend concerning age and gender. Women are well represented in the 35-44 age category at 53%, but this drops significantly to 33.3% for those aged 55-64. This suggests that while women are entering the industry in significant numbers, retention, particularly in senior roles, remains an issue as they progress in their careers (PRS Music).

Ethnic Diversity in the Music Industry

The survey also points to challenges in ethnic diversity. Representation of Black, Asian, and ethnically diverse individuals has seen a decrease from 22.3% in 2020 to 21.04% in 2022. Entry-level positions have been particularly affected, with a drop from 34.6% in 2020 to 23.6% in 2022. However, there has been an increase in representation among the 25-34 age group, suggesting some progress in career progression for these communities (PRS Music).

Disability and Socio-Economic Diversity

The 2024 survey also collected data on disability and socio-economic diversity for the first time. The findings show that 14.9% of industry staff reported a disability, up from 12.2% in 2020. Additionally, socio-economic data reveals that individuals from professional backgrounds are overrepresented, suggesting a need for greater efforts to include talent from diverse socio-economic backgrounds (Evening Standard) (PRS Music).

Initiatives and Action Plans

In response to these findings, UK Music has outlined a comprehensive action plan known as "The Five Ps"—People, Policy, Partnerships, Purchase, and Progress. This plan aims to cultivate an inclusive culture, increase opportunities for underrepresented groups, and ensure that diversity, equity, and inclusion (EDI) are integrated into all levels of the industry. The plan includes 15 key recommendations, such as publishing gender, ethnicity, and disability pay gap data annually and incorporating EDI into procurement processes (Evening Standard) (PRS Music). 

The findings of the 2024 Workforce Diversity Survey underscore the need for continued and accelerated efforts to promote diversity and inclusion within the UK music industry. Despite some positive trends, significant challenges remain, particularly in terms of gender representation in senior roles, ethnic diversity, and socio-economic inclusion. The new action plan by UK Music aims to address these issues and drive meaningful change across the industry.


Kim Cockayne