Following George Floyd’s brutal murder and the necessary education through the BLM movement, we have become painfully aware that our industry and our studio must make changes. We need to be an actively anti-racist business in all that we do. Addressing the imbalance of BAME representation is not something that will happen without considered action. So, through every aspect of our day-to-day business, we have made active commitments to changing this imbalance of representation at Uncommon.
We have introduced new plans and made our existing intentions into concrete policies. These centre around three key areas:
Our team: Going forward, Uncommon will only work with head-hunters and talent scouts who can demonstrate that 20% of their talent pool reflects candidates from BAME backgrounds. We hope this policy combined with annual unbias training for all Uncommon leadership and management will allow us to increase BAME representation within the business to 20% by 2022. This is an action we are committed to, and we will be open about reflecting our progress in making this change.
Our partners: Beyond our immediate team, we are kicking off annual reviews with all our partners and suppliers across our business, ensuring their policies and representation support and align with these values. And critically, before we commit to partnering with any brand, we will have an open discussion to ensure shared values and policies are met around BAME representation.
Our work: In the work we write and make, we will continue to hold ourselves accountable, reflecting broader society and championing equality across those from ethnic minorities. We will hold quarterly reviews of our work with an external cultural board to maintain this importance and where we fall short, we learn and take active steps with our team, partners and clients to make genuine changes. With our production partners, we will be committed to the Bid Black programme as a means of accessing and promoting black directors, editors and cinematographers. Through the “Before You Shoot” pledge we will ensure we are not complicit in anti-black casting decisions.
We recognise and take on the responsibility brands have when choosing a creative partner to communicate their message. But at Uncommon, we also acknowledge the power we hold as an independent business to make proactive decisions when choosing the brands that we too want to work with.
The brands we decide to focus our efforts on, to make famous and hold aloft – will be those that not only stand by these commitments to equality but those that can attack the systemic racism in our society through the work we make together. This choice will not be passive or quiet. And we will make no apologies for the choices we make.
We started Uncommon with a promise for a different relationship with talent, with the “Uncontract”. This continues to be a cornerstone of our culture. Its spirit encourages that we stay open for everyone to bring their whole selves to work: any gender, race, age, sexuality. As we grow, we must hold ourselves accountable and be transparent about our efforts in creating a diverse team.
Supporting young talent has always been important to us. From our first year, we focused on improving access to the wider industry for those just starting out. We have done this through partnerships with the Creative Mentor Network and the Brixton Finishing School, helping to find and encourage untapped talent to pursue jobs in creative, digital, and tech industries, no matter their background.
We are signatories to Creative Mentor Network’s partner business scheme; which includes mentor development programmes, in-house mentor training and support recruiting young diverse talent. A number of our team have already been through the mentor training programme, helping train our team to be better leaders to a more diverse workforce, with three more joining this year’s programme.
We have always been committed to London Living Wage and Placement Poverty Pledges to ensure financial means are not a barrier to entry to the industry.
And our Uncommon Runner Scheme offers a year-long placement for anyone looking to access and learn about the industry. Selected based on appetite not experience. And recruited from the talent pools and connections of Creative Mentor Network and POCC.
BAME pay gap
We don’t currently track this information given the size of our company and also the current pool of our team. But we are working hard to address BAME representation at all levels of the company. And we are confident that in terms of pay, each person is paid equally at their level regardless of gender, ethnicity, or age, and that will not change as we grow.