Actions to take
Under the Equality Act 2010, production companies must not unlawfully discriminate against a job applicant or employee on the grounds of a protected characteristic.
Protected characteristics are:
- Gender reassignment
- Marriage and civil partnership
- Race, including colour, nationality and ethnic or national origin
- Religion or belief
- Sexual orientation
- Pregnancy and maternity leave
The Equality Act 2010 also requires employers to make reasonable adjustments in recruitment and selection processes, to ensure that Disabled people aren’t put at a substantial disadvantage compared with non-disabled employees.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) details legal guidance on complying with the Equality Act in their Statutory Code of Practice on Employment.
Note that the Equality Act covers only England, Wales and Scotland, while there are several equality protections in Northern Ireland.
Overcoming unconscious bias
It’s important to understand how you can unlawfully discriminate against someone during recruitment, even indirectly or inadvertently.
Unconscious bias can influence behaviour, judgement and key decisions throughout the selection process.
Bias can manifest towards any personal characteristic – such as favouring men over women for technical roles or identifying with someone’s hometown.
Build awareness around conscious decision-making into your recruitment processes – which could include training for those hiring crew – and ensure your Equality, Diversity and Inclusion policies are kept up to date.
When recruiting, also be aware how you manage personal data, and comply with GDPR rules.
In addition to meeting legal obligations, valuing ethical responsibilities, professional development and strong reciprocal relationships supports your reputation as an employer – and it helps attract talent and create mentally healthy workplaces.
Ensure your job ads are inclusive and carefully consider all language, fonts and formats used.
Clearly define job roles by outlining key objectives, responsibilities and skills, and ensure that personal specification criteria can be objectively justified.
Advertise new roles in multiple places and consider reaching out to groups that focus on hiring diverse talent.
Members of Pact – the screen sector trade body representing independent production and distribution companies – can also benefit from the guidance offered by the Pact Inclusion Tool to embed inclusive practices across productions.
In the following guide you can:
- Identify key platforms and agencies to consider when recruiting
- Understand how to create inclusive job ads
State your production company’s commitment to supporting wellbeing and mental health on your careers page, individual job ads and recruitment documents, to encourage Disabled people and people with lived experience of poor mental health to apply.
In job adverts, always be transparent about the type and structure of interviews, and clearly state that you’ll provide appropriate assistance and reasonable adjustments, such as interview questions in advance or assistive technology, which could help for tests.
Consider anonymous recruitment to help prevent bias, which means removing identifying factors from applications, including a candidate’s name, location, years of experience and school/university names.
You could also think about using selection scoring systems, if you don’t already, and consider guidance on positive action measures in the Equality Act 2010.
In the following guide you can:
- Explore ways to prevent unlawful discrimination in your application and selection processes
Create a wellbeing pack and make an induction plan that addresses individual requirements and adjustments, including arranging equipment, software or training needed, in advance of start dates.
Make sure that new starters can access all necessary resources and workplace facilities on their first day.
Our Working Well With Me guidance explains the importance of considering specific needs and characteristics, and our template gives new starters the opportunity to share any preferences and reasonable adjustment needs.
Yet, people with caring responsibilities and disabilities bring transferrable skills to their job roles, such as multi-tasking, leadership, empathy and resilience – which make them invaluable assets on set.
Job-sharing and flexible working can help a production attract and retain talented people and make it more inclusive and diverse, and is a legal right in certain circumstances.
Often, small changes to hours or working practices, combined with creative thinking, can make a significant difference and can open up flexible working opportunities for all.
For example, be open to remote or hybrid working by assessing whether each role on your production could be undertaken remotely or part remotely.
Also, reassure applicants that you’re open to flexible working during the recruitment stage – but, as potential stigma can be a concern, be aware that some candidates might not feel comfortable discussing this until after a job offer is made.
Explore where you can advertise job-sharing opportunities, such as on The Talent Manager and Share My Telly Job, which offers guides on how to job share and a free advice service for flexible work-related issues.
Raising Films gives suggestions around inclusivity for parents and carers working in the industry.
Bectu also provides useful information on flexible working on its website.
In this video, script supervisors Laure and Marnie share their experience of job sharing and explain why it worked for them.
Positive impacts from their job-share included:
- Feeling respected and valued, both as crew members and as people
- Achieving a better balance between work and family responsibilities, particularly during school holidays
- Greater job satisfaction, resulting from improved clarity around time boundaries