ACE Diversity Data Report


Commentary by Ian Duckworth, Associate Director of Research at Barker Langham Recruitment

The Arts Council diversity data report – Equality Diversity and the Creative Case 2017-18

Nicholas Serota, the Chair of Arts Council England, introduces the report highlighting the creative, social and economic potential of diversity and how diversity represents a resource of talent, ideas and energy to sustain society through its current challenges and point the way to a creative future of national community. Nicholas is nothing if not a good summariser of a fifty-two page report.

Arts organizations rely more and more on ‘creative thinking and solutions’, says the report - which sounds as if something obvious is being pointed out - but this report is about what the day to day operation of an Arts organization is like rather than their artistic content. Not surprisingly a diverse workforce is seen as better suited to ‘creative thought and enterprise.’

The Arts Council of England backed by better researched and more accurate figures looks to guide Arts organizations into having a workforce which reflects the present-day diversity in the available workforce. Its criteria for funding those organisations also includes meeting the workforce diversity targets.

With BME (Black and Minority Ethnic) figures the difference between NPO (National Portfolio Organizations) staff at 12% BME and MPM (Major Partner Museums) staff at 5% is highlighted as an area where action is needed. The comparable figure for BME in the general workforce is 16%. Clearly certain organization on the MPM list will have to improve their BME numbers in the workforce to guarantee their continued funding.

The percentages for staff who are disabled in the Arts workforce is a low 4% as opposed to the 20% who are considered disabled in the general workforce stated in this report. Other sources calculate this figure at 11%, but in either case, as in the case of the BME statistics, those with disabilities working in the Arts sector is 3 to 5 times lower than it could and ought to be.

The figures in the Report also suggest new technology is finally taking over many management positions. Are Managers going the way typists went? Quite probably. Statistics suggest that older Managerial staff are retiring and being replaced by younger staff with specialist and technical skills better suited to how Arts organisations now work. Roles are becoming more autonomous and self- managing and we should not be surprised to see this trend amplify and accelerate rapidly.

What do you think? Please do post your comments below.


Ian Duckworth
Associate Director of Research, Barker Langham Recruitment

Ian is experienced in Human Resources and Recruitment, where he has planned and delivered his recruiting services for clients such as the British Museum, Tate, Science Museum, Natural History Museum, Imperial War Museum, National Museums Liverpool (all UK), the Cradle of Humankind and De Beers ‘Big Hole’ (South Africa).

Ian has 15 years of public and private sector experience in global (including USA and Russia) Museums and Galleries across Nationals, Internationals, Local Authorities and Independent Trusts. His most recent projects at Barker Langham Recruitment has been providing human resources consultancy services and staff recruitment for the Strelka Institute in Moscow, Russia; recruiting a senior staff member for a new national museum in Oman; providing organisational, training, and human resources consultancy work for Shindagha Museum in Dubai, UAE; and also delivering human resources, organisational planning and human resources consulting services to Japan House in London, UK. 

Ian has published global research and development work including Museums and Heritage training, competency frameworks, skills transfer and recruitment trends analysis. He holds a Diploma in European Cultural Studies from Warwick University, a Diploma in Art Gallery and Museum Studies from the University of Manchester and a BA History (Hons) from King’s College London. Ian is fluent in English and Catalan.

Flora KissComment