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Arts are failing to widen access to jobs – report

The CCSkills conference, where the report was launched and culture minister Ed Vaizey called on creative industry leaders to boost youth employment
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The cultural sector is failing to provide equal access to jobs, which is “stifling” the industry’s ability to grow and diversify, according to a new report.

The review, written by leading skills development body Creative and Cultural Skills, claims that employers are recruiting from too small a pool of applicants, which has resulted in unfair routes into work.

Barriers to the industry include the requirement for high-level qualifications and the preference of employers to use unpaid workers, the report says.

Another obstacle is the need for industry newcomers to have an informal network of “insiders” within the sector before they can secure a job, the document adds.

The Building a Creative Nation: Evidence Review, which looks at existing research from organisations such as Arts Council England and the Institute for Employment Studies, claims that the creative industries do not actively promote social mobility as a whole, “despite various schemes and initiatives that may look to target specific issues”.

It calls on the sector to create more jobs and to improve its recruitment processes for taking on young people.

In the foreword to the report, Pauline Tambling, joint chief executive of CCSkills, said: “The relative preference of creative businesses to recruit unpaid workers, from a very
small network of in-the-know applicants is stifling the ability of businesses to diversify and grow.

“This may be a reason why creative businesses remain as micro, rather than major players on the economic landscape.”

She added: “The evidence review presented here sets out a clear case for the creative industries’ capacity and capability to support not just jobs, but the kind of work that is fair, accessible and rewarding for all young people.”

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