UK Music Industry Diversity Survey Shows Progress – and Need for Further Change

Sunday, June 23, 2024

Industry body UK Music has announced the findings of its 2024 Workforce Diversity Survey, drawing from data supplied by 2,874 participants. While there have been significant improvements in gender and ethnic representation within the industry, the survey underscores the need for continued efforts towards diversity and inclusion.

Gender Representation

The representation of women in the music industry has seen improvement across various levels. At the senior level, women now occupy 48.3% of roles, up from 40.4% in 2020. Mid-level positions see women representing 52.4%, while at the entry level, women account for 61.5%. Overall, 53.8% of respondents identified as women, an increase from 52.9% in 2022. This positive trend indicates that efforts to promote gender equality are making an impact, although further work is needed to address disparities, especially at higher levels.

Ethnic Diversity

The survey reveals progress in ethnic diversity. Respondents from ethnically diverse communities increased from 21% in 2022 to 25.2% in 2024. At the entry level, the number of Black, Asian, and ethnically diverse employees rose significantly from 23.6% in 2022 to 32.5% in 2024. Senior level representation for these groups grew from 18.2% in 2022 to 22.1% in 2024. These improvements suggest that initiatives to enhance ethnic diversity are starting to show results, but there is still work to be done to maintain and increase these gains 

Socio-Economic Diversity

For the first time, the survey included socio-economic background data, asking respondents about the occupation of their main household earner when they were about 14 years old. Most survey participants come from professional backgrounds (56.1%), followed by working-class backgrounds (20.9%) and "intermediate" backgrounds (14.8%). This data highlights a disparity in socio-economic representation, indicating a need for broader outreach and support to ensure talent from diverse economic backgrounds can enter and thrive in the industry 

Retention of Women

One significant challenge identified is the retention of women in the industry. Taskforce vice-chair Paulette Long OBE noted that while more young women are entering the industry, they tend to leave by their mid-forties. This trend necessitates further investigation to understand the reasons behind it and develop strategies to retain this talent within the industry.

Sexual Orientation, Disability, and Neurodiversity

The survey also explored other aspects of diversity, including sexual orientation, disability, and neurodiversity. Only 6% of the workforce identifies as gay, with less than 5% identifying as bisexual and 3% as queer. Representation of transgender employees remains below 2%. Additionally, 14.9% of industry staff reported having a disability, an increase from 12.2% in 2020, suggesting that more people are either entering the industry or feel comfortable disclosing their conditions (Evening Standard).

The Five Ps Action Plan

In response to the survey findings, UK Music has developed an action plan known as "The Five Ps" – People, Policy, Partnerships, Purchase, and Progress. This comprehensive plan aims to create an inclusive culture, increase opportunities for underrepresented groups, and ensure that diversity, equity, and inclusion (EDI) principles are integrated at all levels of the industry. The plan includes 15 recommendations, such as publishing gender, ethnicity, and disability pay gap data annually and incorporating EDI into procurement processes.


The 2024 UK Music Workforce Diversity Survey highlights both progress and ongoing challenges in achieving diversity and inclusion within the music industry. While there have been significant improvements in gender and ethnic representation, the survey underscores the need for continued efforts to address socio-economic disparities, retention of women, and representation of sexual minorities and disabled individuals. The new action plan by UK Music aims to address these issues and drive meaningful change across the industry.

Kim Cockayne