Measuring the Ethnic Diversity of the Museum Workforce

Maurice Davies and Lucy Shaw

This paper sets the museum sector workforce in the context of the population as a whole and makes some comparisons to the diversity of the wider cultural sector workforce. It looks also at positive action training schemes, targeted at under-represented minority groups, in particular the Museums Association's Diversify scheme, looking at their cost and effectiveness in securing employment. It also describes other positive action schemes such as Arts Council England's Inspire programme and Diversify management-level traineeships and traineeships for deaf and disabled people. It tentatively considers the impact and value for money of positive-action training. It also sets out the legal and policy context for workforce diversification, in particular the implications for data collection of section 37 of the Race Relations Act 1976.

The headline finding is that the proportion of people from minority-ethnic backgrounds in the UK museum sector increased from 2.5% in 1993 to about 7% in 2006–2008. This varies between 1.3% and 10.4% depending on the type of museum and the type of job and compares to an overall minority-ethnic working age population of 12.6% in England in 2008.

There is a significant under-representation of most (but probably not all) minority-ethnic groups in most areas of museum work. The paper concludes by making brief suggestions about how policy makers and researchers might respond.

Source: Article Abstract