Aardman Equality, Diversity & Inclusion update, February 2023
Aardman is committed to being open and transparent about the work we are doing to improve representation throughout our workforce and increase the level of on-screen diversity in our productions. This is the fifth in a series of regular updates documenting our progress. Please see links to our previous updates at the bottom of this page.
Progress made in the previous six months (September 2022 – February 2023)
Over the past six months, we have made the following steps towards achieving our Equality, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI) goals as outlined in our Diversity & Inclusion Charter:
- We have become a Level 1: Disability Confident Employer and made progress towards Level 2, for which we will be submitting our formal application in March 2023. We have self-assessed our organisation against the two key themes (‘getting the right people for your business’ and ‘keeping and developing your people’) and implemented a number of changes as a result, including:
- Creating a pack to send out to all interviewees in advance of their interviews, containing useful information such as an access map of the site (showing the front door, distance from the car park, location of the disabled parking bays etc.) and the adjustments we can make (e.g. conducting interviews online).
- Making sure all our job openings are advertised through We Are Unlimited, an arts commissioning programme that promotes disabled artists, in order to reach more disabled talent all across the UK.
- When talking about our Disability Confident Employer application, it is important for us to recognise and be transparent about the fact that currently not all of our facilities are fully accessible due to their age and the nature of their layout and construction. This is something that we unfortunately cannot completely resolve immediately, but we have improved upon it wherever possible and are fully committed to resolving it as soon as possible as our long-term occupation strategy develops.
- We began a comprehensive review of our company HR policies to ensure that EDI is incorporated at every level, beginning with our diversity and family policies. Changes that we have made include:
- Revising the language used:
- To remove formal or technical legal language wherever possible, so that all policies are accessible and easy to understand.
- To ensure all the vocabulary is inclusive, for example by replacing heteronormative terms such as ‘maternity leave’ and ‘paternity leave’ with inclusive terms such as ‘parental leave’.
- Creating additional policies wherever needed. For example, we will be creating a dedicated transitioning at work policy in the next six months, in addition to finalising our anti-racism policy after upcoming company-wide training.
- Revising the language used:
- We conducted a deep dive into our recruitment platforms and processes with the aim of further broadening the reach of our job adverts and ensuring there are no barriers to entry for potential applicants. This led to:
- A review of the vocabulary used in our job adverts, to ensure it is fully inclusive, as above.
- An update to our recruitment process to provide applicants with more support during/ahead of interviews. For example, from now on we will be providing applicants with a pack containing useful info and photos of the individuals who will be interviewing them so they can familiarise themselves with the panel in advance.
- Discussions about how we can support young people from diverse backgrounds to prepare their portfolios and ensure they contain all the right information. We are currently exploring ways that we could do this, for example through an informative video series.
- We have created a calendar of Celebrations & Awareness Events, which will be shared on our new staff intranet when it launches later this year and to which all partners will be encouraged to add their own activities and celebrations.
In addition to the above we conducted a company-wide EDI staff survey, with the intention of using the results to help inform our organisational strategy, internal events, and external communications. The survey included a number of questions about the Protected Characteristics covered by the Equality Act 2010 (in order to give us a better understanding of who we are as a studio and to identify our gaps in recruitment and representation), as well as questions to collect ideas for improvement and assess employees’ sense of belonging.
The survey was open to employees from 9th December 2022 – 6th January 2023 and we received 215 responses from our 600 employees. This was a disappointing response rate and means the data is not entirely representative of Aardman. We hope for better results in 2023 and will be reviewing the survey process to find ways to increase uptake.
Based on the responses we received, the top-line findings are:
- 6.4% of respondents were younger than 25-years-old at the time of the survey. 33% are 25-34 years old, 31.6% are 35-44, 21.8% are 45-54, and 6% are 55-64. 0.9% of our employees are over the age of 65.
- 53.4% of our employees identify as female, 42.7% identify as male, 0.4% identify as non-binary, and 0.4% answered ‘other’ in response to the question about gender.
- 73.4% of our employees identify as heterosexual, 13.9% identify as bisexual/pansexual, 3.7% identify as homosexual, and 1.3% identify as asexual. 6% of respondents preferred not to say and 1.3% answered ‘none of the above’.
- The number of respondents who identified as belonging to an ethnic minority group (excluding white minorities) was 6.1%.
- 88.3% identified as UK/British, 8.8% identified as an EU member, 1.8% identified as North American, and 0.4% identified as Central/South American.
- 5.5% of respondents identified as having a disability and 22.7% identified as being neurodiverse.
- 73% of our employees are not religious, 10.2% identify as Christian, 0.4% identify as Buddhist, and 0.4% identify as Jewish. 6% answered this question ‘none of the above’, 3.7% answered ‘other’, and 6% preferred not to say.
- 88.3% of respondents were aware of our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Taskforce.
- The average rating out of 10 for whether people felt able to communicate any concerns was 7.13.
Priorities for the coming six months (March – August 2023)
In the coming six months we will focus on the following priority areas:
- Further analysing the results of our staff survey and deciding what actions to take as a result.
- Planning authentic events and celebrations to mark the following occasions:
- World Autism Acceptance Week (27 March – 2 April), which we are planning to mark with a series of events, including Q&As and screenings of films with authentic representations of autistic characters, to increase awareness and understanding of autism. We will also be rolling out neurodiversity training to our heads of departments and line managers (i.e. those with responsibility for hiring and line management) in March.
- International Women’s Rights Day, when we’ll focus on four subjects: violence against women, period poverty, the gender pay gap and pension gap, and equal opportunities for training and career progression.
- Bristol Pride, which takes place in June and July and which we will again celebrate and support the LGBTQIA+ community within Aardman to take part in.
- Completing our review of the company’s HR policies, including:
- Finalising our anti-racism policy following company-wide training and rolling this out across the business, ensuring everyone understands the policy and what it means in practice.
- Creating a transitioning at work policy and rolling this out across the business, ensuring everyone understands the policy and what it means in practice.
- Reviewing and rewording all outstanding policies.
- Launching our ‘people and culture hub’, a new company intranet which will make it easier to locate and access individual policies. This hub will also host our calendar of Celebrations & Awareness Events.
If you would like to know more about the above, or would like to support one of our initiatives, please contact Pauline Mallam, our Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Manager, at Pauline.Mallam@aardman.com.