The results of an independent survey into employment and training methods within post-production has delivered a blow to anyone who thinks that a media studies course is the best way of getting into television, writes Will Strauss.
When asked what skills or qualifications they required from first jobbers or junior job functions, 90% of post company managers said they were "more interested in recruiting presentable, client friendly people with initiative and general communication skills, rather than people who have media studies or film course qualifications".
In fact, the survey revealed that no company that took part in the research sample "required specific qualifications for new recruits or junior job functions" - with the exception of engineering roles.
However, it seems that many junior staff have already spent their time - often as much as four years - doing media courses. The survey revealed that "a large proportion of people already employed at the lower levels do tend to have media studies degrees". Many facilities bosses said they believed that a degree in marketing or business would in fact be more beneficial to entry-level staff.
The survey also exposed that post-production in this country is as "hideously white" as the BBC. Mirroring BBC director general Greg Dyke's famous admission about the lack of cultural mix within the corporation, the research found that "65% of runners are male and 80% white. The average gender balance across all jobs in post-production is 70% male with 85% being white".
The survey, carried out by marketing consultant Tim MacPherson on behalf of the Post Production Initiative, covered 535 job titles across 20 companies. The results will form the basis of a recommendation report that will be used to help improve the standard of training available for
a career in post-production in this country.
Further results from the research will be presented and discussed at a seminar session at The Production Show entitled "Developing Talent in Facilities - Who Pays?"
Other main findings
80% of post-production companies recognise that there is a need to provide their staff with more training
50% of companies do not spend any "direct" cash on training and of those that do, the maximum spend is in the region of£15,000 pa
From the sample companies only 10% of the total workforce had been on any sort of external training in the past 12 months
Training budgets are mostly spent on technical and engineering courses - bookings people and runners do not get external training
90% of companies would recruit from accredited media courses as long as the content was more business-focused and less "arty"