Monday, June 6, 2016

Bondi hipster profile for media worker bad for diversity, warns PWC report

A report out today warns a lack of racial and gender diversity in Australia's media is dragging down the future growth of the industry.

Instead of reflecting real world Australia, the research shows the average media worker is a while male "hipster" who lives in Sydney's inner west or eastern suburbs.

Listen to my interview with PWC's Megan Brownlow broadcast on The World Today

In Melbourne - Australia's second biggest media market - the typical media worker lives in the inner city suburbs of St Kilda or Richmond.

The disturbing snapshot is revealed in PWC's annual media and entertainment outlook which urges the media sector to tackle internal culture and recruitment problems to create better diversity in ethnicity, gender and age.

The outlook examines workplace diversity in the media for the first time and says the industry is overrepresented by English monolingual staff with 75 percent of employees white, male and aged over 35.

Megan Brownlow, who edited the outlook for PWC, told The World Today the media sector needs to face up to some disturbing truths about media workers confirmed in the geospatial modelling.

"It turns out to be the Bondi hipster - a 27 year old white male who lives in Bondi," Mr Brownlow said.

Megan Brownlow, editor of PWC's media outlook 

"The top ten suburbs for media and entertainment people are all in Sydney, either in the eastern suburbs are the inner west."

Ms Browlow says the report shows that Australia has moved on dramatically from 1910 when the average Australian was a 24 year old white male farmer who was Anglican and of British background.

"I think it's fairly apparent that we are not a very diverse industry," Ms Brownlow said.

"If we fast forward to today, the average Australian has changed from being a male to a female.

"She's a 37 year old and her belief is not Anglican but Catholic and she works in retail."

But when it comes to decision makers - or senior managers - the average profile is a 45 year old white male who is less likely to be bilingual.

The PWC report reflects recently comments from ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie that the national broadcaster needs to better mirror Australian society.

But Ms Brownlow says all broadcasters including the ABC need to constantly review their strategies to improve diversity.

Ms Brownlow says the lack of diversity stems from "unconscious bias" or "similarity of attraction" where employers are drawn to people like themselves.

However, Ms Brownlow has highlighted Waleed Aly who recently won the Gold Logie as a role model of changing times in the media along with Rebecca Maddern who is now presenter of the Victorian version of The Footy Show on the Nine network.

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