Britain’s got talent? A critique of the ‘talent pipeline’ crisis in the UK’s film and television industries
Journal: Media Industries
Publisher: Michigan Publishing
Prior to the pandemic of 2020, what was being described as ‘the Netflix effect’ had brought a significant boost to the UK’s film and television industries. However, a significant increase in the amount of commissioning of ‘high end’ television production had been accompanied by widely reported concerns that these new opportunities were in danger of being lost due to an insufficient supply of new talent. It was argued that only a major investment in entry-level recruitment for an expected 30,000 new jobs, would avert a ‘talent pipeline’ crisis. In this article we question the accuracy of these assertions by reviewing the key evidence on which they were based. We examine how concerns about skills gaps and shortages came to be framed as a problem of pipeline supply, rather than as a problem of leakage thereby avoiding more challenging and systemic retention issues related to employment practices within these industries. The article highlights the dangers inherent in policy research where there is a gravitational pull for evidence-based policy to be overridden by policy-based evidence.