Our Diversity & Inclusion Charter is our commitment towards continuously building a workforce that is truly reflective of our society, underpinned by a core belief that having a diverse and inclusive workforce is essential if we are to successfully deliver on our mission, to create animated comedy entertainment for all, and our vision, to be the most inspirational animation company in the world.
Over the past 40 years, the makeup of the labour market in the UK has changed dramatically. The proportion of the working age population that come from a BAME background is increasing. In 2016, 14% of the working age population are from a BAME background, this is increasing, with the proportion expected to rise to 21% by 2051. However, this is not reflected in the majority of workplaces, with many ethnic minorities concentrated in lower paying jobs. (Baroness McGregor-Smith Review of ‘Race in the workplace 2018’).
The UK screen industries continue to face significant inclusion and diversity issues. Extensive desk research shows a strong relationship between workplace diversity and benefits to businesses and workers, such as improved performance, competitiveness, innovation, wellbeing and job satisfaction. With ONS statistics indicating that screen industries fall below the national average in the wider UK economy in terms of demographic composition – overall the screen industries workforce is more male, more white, younger and better off, with fewer people with disabilities – we are missing opportunities. (Annual ScreenSkills Assessment August 2019).
We recognise that we have much more work to do to achieve representation throughout our workforce and increase the level of on-screen diversity in our future projects, and appreciate how correcting this will make us a stronger, healthier and more creative company.
This charter defines our goals and actions. It applies at all times when partners are engaged in any Aardman activities (in & outside of the workplace) or are representing Aardman.
Independent and employee owned, at Aardman we live and breathe our core company values of openness, collaboration, integrity and excellence. We have the ability, and moral and business obligation, to demonstrate our commitment to this Charter in all that we do, and will proactively and continuously push for meaningful change, change we will ensure all our partners fully embrace.
- We will agree and commit to an annual diversity and inclusion action plan with meaningful resources attached. We will be ambitious and transparent on progress towards those plans, and will be held to account for their delivery.
- We commit to benchmarking ourselves against reputable national statistics on workforce composition and transparently sharing statistics of our own demographics, continuously working towards having a workforce that fully and accurately mirrors society.
- We will scrutinise and expand our recruitment access points at all levels of the organisation to ensure we are reaching a fully inclusive candidate base, and will continue to increase and improve our training and apprenticeship offering, making it accessible to as large a community as possible.
- We commit to swiftly and efficiently tackling any form of discrimination, bullying, harassment, undermining or any other form of divisive behaviour within our company. All partners will undertake training in Discrimination and Dignity at Work and will be expected to sign and agree to work to our Dignity at Work Charter.
- We will continue to support flexible working, enabling increased accessibility for those with health conditions or impairments, caring responsibilities, parents returning to work, study leave, and anyone else who would benefit from flexible working conditions.
Aardman is known for providing high-quality family entertainment to a diverse and intergenerational, global family audience. We make content from a uniquely British perspective but our stories have a universal relatability in their characters, humour and great storytelling. Our continued success depends on our respect and understanding of our existing and new audiences. Therefore we will ensure diversity and inclusion is inherent to the development and production of all our content – both on and off screen.
- We will apply the BFI Diversity and Inclusion standards to all projects in Development.
- We will assess projects in production against these standards and where they are failing we will work to improve. - We will establish a yearly diversity fund to help producers meet and maintain these standards on productions.
- We will intensify our efforts to bring a range of new and diverse creative talent to projects in development and through to production.
- We will continue to develop content that is representative, diverse and inclusive.
We acknowledge we have an influential voice within our industry, and therefore a responsibility to use it to affect change. We will work with the creative industry and our partners to understand more, to challenge more, and ultimately be more effective in bringing about measurable, systemic change.
- We believe in accountability through transparency. We will publicly share our targets and progress to inspire others within our industries to do the same.
- We will continue to actively support the best initiatives across our industries in order to collectively understand the issues and join together in instigating far reaching change.
- We will strive to increase the diversity amongst our spokespeople, providing training and support for new voices to inspire, advocate and mentor for the benefit of a more diverse and inclusive workforce.
- We will share our expertise, offering free or discounted courses at the Aardman Academy for those who may otherwise not have the opportunity or the encouragement to join our industry.
- We will work with our partners and suppliers to encourage practices that promote diversity, challenging and supporting them to work in new ways.