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Women under-represented in management, technical

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BANFF - While women have made tremendous advances in most areas of film and television, they are still significantly under-represented in upper management and technical jobs, says a study releases at last week's Banff Television Festival by Women In Film and Television - Toronto.

The dearth of women in technical jobs is especially troubling given it is a key growth area in the industry.

The study, entitled "Frame Work: Employment in Canadian Screen-Based Media - A National Profile" also identifies sizeable shortages in business development, marketing and financial management skills. Further, visible minorities have made great inroads in the new media sector but are not in decision-making seats in the film and television industries.

Frame Work is the first industry-led study of its kind in that measures diversity, skills and employment in the film, television and new media industries. An earlier WIFT-T study in 1989 examined women's participation in the industries. Frame Work was commissioned by WIFT-T with support from a coalition of more than 20 industry and government partners.

The 10-chapter study was prepared by a team of consultants, Paul Audley & Associates, EKOS Research, Humewood Communications and Delvinia Interactive.

"Canada's media is in transition as it responds to major technological change, globalization and an increasingly multicultural viewing audience," said Kate Hanley, WIFT-T president. "To build a competitive, inclusive workforce, stakeholders realized they must understand and address key employment trends, workforce composition, skills gaps and growth areas where development is critical."

Key findings include:
*40% of production companies surveyed reported difficulty finding people with the skills they need in key job categories.
* 74.9% of film and television distribution firms reported shortages in finding people skilled in acquisitions.
* 37% of new media companies reported difficulty filling key positions, including creative/design and technical/programming positions.

Employment of women
* At private broadcasters, women significantly increased their representation at upper-level management positions to 28% in 2001 from 7% in 1988.
* Women make up 43% of CBC's total workforce (up from 36.5% in 1988).
* The number of female producers has increased to 60.9% in 2004 from 29% in 1989.

New media
* Aboriginals account for 1.5% of new media employees compared to 2.6% in the national workforce.
* Visible minorities account for 17%, considerably higher than the 12.6% in Canada's workforce.
* Only 13% of programmers at new media firms are women.

Over the next eight months, WIFT-T and its partners will hold a series of roundtables with industry and government stakeholders to talk about Frame Work.

Five main sources were used to gather data for this study, as follows:
* Statistics Canada data, from the 2001 Census, the 2003 Labour Force Survey, and the film and video industry surveys it conducts, most recently in 2002.
* Employment equity data obtained from Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, collected by the Department under the Employment Equity Act from federally regulated organizations with 100 or more employees.
* A series of national surveys conducted in key sectors of Canada's screen-based media industries: film and television distribution companies, film and television production companies, new media production companies and their employees, new media freelance workers, unions and guilds serving the interests of those working in screen-based industries, and education and training organizations providing instruction in screen-based media.
* Data provided directly by CBC English Television, the National Film Board of Canada, and the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) for broadcasters with fewer than 100 employees.
* Literature on screen-based industries, which was accessed in order to establish a context for each of the sectors.

Lead partners of the study include Bell Globemedia, the Cultural Human Resources Council of Canada and the HRSDC. Sponsors and supporters include Industry Canada, the Ontario Ministry of Culture, the City of Toronto, the Ontario Media Development Corporation, Telefilm, Canadian Heritage, the National Film Board and broadcasters CHUM Limited, Global Television Network, TORONTO 1, TVA and VisionTV.
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