Published 29th February 2024

Aardman Equality, Diversity & Inclusion update, February 2024

Aardman is committed to being open and transparent about the work we are doing to improve representation throughout our workforce and to increase the level of on-screen diversity in our productions. This is the seventh in a series of regular updates documenting our progress. Please see links to our previous updates below. 


In our previous update, we stated that during this period we could continue to focus on the four key areas identified in our previous staff survey, i.e. 1) increasing representation on and off screen 2) gender equality 3) outreach and 4) internal comms. Here are some examples of concrete actions that we undertook in each of those areas. 

1. Increasing representation on and off screen: 

  • We welcomed our second intern from the Bristol Creative Industries Internship Programme, which we helped to launch along with Babbassa (a charity which inspires and supports under-represented young people in Bristol through skills training, professional mentoring, events and recruitment support) plus 13 other creative business in the Bristol area. We were able to offer one of these brilliant interns a short-term contract with Aardman to further their time with the company. Please have a read about the experience in Yasmina and Amy’s own words here. 

  • We ran a free two-day course for a group of autistic adults with a passion for animation, which covered everything from puppet making to tips on creating a portfolio, in collaboration with Flycheese, who helped us to ensure that everything was accessible, understandable and clear. Read more about the course here and here. 

  • We reviewed our existing memberships and subscriptions to ensure we and our employees are getting the most out of them. For example, we updated our profile on myGwork, the largest global business community of LGBTQ+ professionals, graduates, inclusive employers and anyone who believes in workplace equality. 

  • We increased our efforts to recruit more diverse writers. For example, for a yet-to-be-announced new season of an Aardman favourite, the Development Team endeavoured to bring together a diverse writing team. 50% of the episodes have been written by women, with two members of the writing team being part of the LGBTQIA+ community and three being people of colour. 

2. Gender equality: 

  • Our HR manager continues to work on addressing our gender pay gap, conducting further analysis to understand line-by-line and role-by-role where the discrepancies are. This will then be relayed to heads of departments so that action plans can be put in place. 

  • Our Gender Equality Group hired coach and consultant Dr Mena Fombo to deliver a workshop on imposter syndrome in the workplace. 

3. Outreach: 

  • In addition to the two-day course for autistic adults mentioned above, we hosted two school groups for animation workshops at our Gas Ferry Road site. All the pupils who took part were either from SEND units, low confidence, at risk of exclusion, or not going into further education. We worked with Bristol Works, a Learning City partnership project which aims to make quality experiences of work and apprenticeships available to every young person in the city, to identify schools to partner with. 

  • We provided a workshop for pupils at a special education needs school. 

  • We participated in the BBC Young Reporters Day with model-making workshops. 

  • Our Senior Designer, Lorna Harrington, took part in a panel event in Bristol organised by Creative Access, an organisation which provides access to jobs, opportunities and career-long support in the creative industries for people from under-represented communities. 

  • We partnered with Into Film and Netflix Grow Creative to produce Animate with Aardman, a free digital animation course featuring some of our talented crew, aimed at 7–11-year-olds. One of the key aims has been to make Animate with Aardman as accessible as possible, inspiring a new generation of filmmakers from a diverse range of backgrounds.

4. Internal comms: 

  • We launched our new ‘people and culture hub’, which hosts our calendar of Celebrations & Awareness Events along with all our company policies in one easy-to-navigate space. 

  • We continued to send monthly internal EDI updates and also sent a reminder of all the different working groups that employees are invited to join. 

  • Our Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Manager, Pauline Mallam, joined our new ‘newcomers meet and greet’ session which took place in November to talk about EDI at Aardman and to meet new team members over a welcome lunch. 

  • We created a new ‘transitioning at work’ policy and are currently working on plans to roll this out across the business.
  • We have agreed an anti-racism for business training programme, which will be undertaken by Aardman’s Executive Board, Strategy Group and HR teams before we together create a meaningful, informed and specific anti-racism policy and roll that out across the business. 

  • We conducted our annual staff survey and shared the findings internally. Please see more on this below.  

Our EDI survey was conducted in September with results shared with the company in November. Participation in this optional survey increased from 35% to 66%, which we hope reflects increased buy-in and understanding from across the business of the importance of measuring our progress. Here are the headline findings: 

  • We have a good split with regards to gender, with an increase in the number of people identifying as non-binary. 

  • 73.5% of respondents identified as heterosexual, 13.9 % as bisexual/pansexual, 3.7% as homosexual/lesbian/gay, 1.3% as asexual, 1.3% as none of the above, and 6% preferred not to say.  

  • 73% of respondents said that they have no religion. 10.2% identified as Christian, 6% as ‘none of the above’, 3.7% answered ‘other’, 0.4% identified as Buddhist, 0.4% identified as Jewish, and 6% preferred not to say. No respondents identified as Hindu, Muslim or Sikh.  

  • Regarding ethnicity, 88.7% of respondents were White, 5.5% come from the Global Majority and 4.7% preferred not to say.

  • 4.7% of respondents identified as disabled. 

  • 19.7% of respondents identified as neurodiverse.

  • 94.2% of respondents felt they have a good understanding of what EDI means.

  • 88.8% of respondents felt that they can safely report their EDI concerns. 

These findings will inform our ongoing work, for example: 

  • Despite having a good split with regards to gender, we have a gender pay gap, so we will focus our efforts on identifying the reasons behind our gender pay gap and work on policies to support women and non-binary people at work.

  • The survey results show that we must continue our efforts to reach out to LGBTQIA+ communities, people from the global majority, people with different religious beliefs, and people who identify as disabled. 

Here are some of the things we will be working on in the coming six months, informed by the above: 

  • Celebrating World Autism Acceptance Week, International Women’s Day and Pride – amongst other things. 

  • Creating a neurodiversity toolkit for managers. 

  • Relaunching our successful mentoring scheme with a new cohort of mentors and mentees. 

  • Having a focus on parents and carers, looking into ways we can better support them at work. 

  • Continuing our outreach to schools, with the aim of running two workshops per term. 

  • Continuing our partnership with Into Film. Animate with Aardman is now freely available in all UK schools via Into Film and has reached approximately 18,500 students since its launch in November 2023, but we will continue to find ways to share it with new audiences.  

  • Reviewing our internships programme to find ways to make it even more beneficial to participants. 

  • Reinforcing our partnership with MyGWork to reach a wider pool of talent, specifically from the LGBTQ+ community, including through increased participation in MyGWork training and webinars and increasing our communications on the MyGWork platform.  

  • Working with OTR (Off The Record, a mental health social movement by and for young people aged 11-25 living in Bristol and South Gloucestershire) and the Freedom project (OTR’s gender and sexuality social action project) to deliver two workshops and support OTR’s 13 to 18-year-old group.  

  • Honouring the Age-friendly Employer Pledge which Aardman committed to recently,  including by identifying a senior sponsor for age-inclusion, ensuring that age is specifically mentioned in our EDI policies, and taking action to improve the recruitment, retention & development of workers over 50. 

If you would like to know more about the above, or are a partner who would like to support one of our initiatives, please contact Pauline Mallam, our Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Manager, at