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The Film & TV Charity is calling on the industry to improve the retention of people past the age of 50 after identifying up to 35,000 people who are ‘missing’ from the film and TV industry, according to a report from the Film and TV Charity.

Using data from Ofcom, Diamond, ScreenSkills and its own Looking Glass Survey, over-50s account for around one in five (19.8% - 21%) of the film and TV workforce.

Across all industries, ONS data puts the figure at 32.7% of the total UK workforce.

The report, Absent Friends, says that this 12% deficit – which is evenly split by gender – represents around 24,000 experienced people, many of them with management and leadership skills, who could have stayed with the industry or been recruited or rehired at an older age, if the industry were more age- and family-friendly.

Projecting this to the anticipated growth in posts needed to cope with the UK production boom and  to train the next generation, the F&TC calculates that around 35,000 over-50s could plug a gap in the overall labour shortage.

“The industry has historically found it convenient to take a ‘disposable’ approach to the workforce and… has not worked hard enough to retain people,” the report states.

“However, with the impact of the pandemic and labour shortages brought about by the production boom, there is a strong and pressing case to adjust working practices to keep experienced workers in the industry.”

Burnout, long hours, tight deadlines and budgets are among the reasons highlighted for the post-50 exodus.

Recent ONS figures suggest that across the UK workforce, 19% of 50-59 year-olds who quit their job did so due to stress or mental health reasons, with another 14% citing a desire to change their lifestyle and 13% because they did not feel valued in their job.

The ONS also found that 39% of older workers who left their jobs during the coronavirus pandemic want to return to the labour market. They prioritise flexible working hours (36%), the ability to work from home (18%) and a permanent role (12%).

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