Carrie Wootten is Managing Director at Rise – Women in Broadcast. She works to advocate for gender diversity in broadcast technology. Carrie has worked across the broadcast and media industries, in business as well as education. The mentoring programme at Rise continues to offer opportunities for female broadcast technology professionals to network, build their confidence and expand their careers. ‘Rise-Up’ is a new educational outreach programme offering networking and educational outreach so that younger people are being encouraged into broadcast technology.
I got to ask Carrie some questions I had about gender diversity in media and she had a lot of great information to share.
What are some positives about being a woman in the industry?
This is an exciting and dynamic industry with fantastic career opportunities that can see you working on the biggest entertainment and sports shows or travel the world. There are brilliant men and women working across the sector who want to see you progress and be successful. It’s also an industry that is continuously evolving and innovating. So there is always something to learn to keep you on your toes!
Have you felt any pushback for your goal of gender diversity?
Honestly – no. I think everyone I have spoken to understands the goal, wants to achieve the goal and really importantly wants to work collaboratively to make it happen. Diversity is finally a central part of many companies’ ambitions and the conversation of why it is important is understood. However, there is still a long way to go. Gender pay gap / lack of promotion / lack of diverse talent coming through the sector at a new entrant level / women in C Level positions / feeling undervalued / working in a male dominated industry etc. All of these areas, and more, still need to be addressed
What do you think about positive discrimination in the industry?
I think every role should be filled by the best candidate. Having said this, everyone needs to be given the opportunity, support and access to be the best candidate and at the moment, that doesn’t happen. Organisations like Rise are critical for this, to ensure change happens. The industry needs to fundamentally shift to ensure we have a diverse and gender balanced workforce and this is where positive support and action is vital.
Do you think there are enough training opportunities for new entrants to the industry?
Training and education is a complex picture now, especially in a post Covid world. Higher education is expensive and many Universities are struggling to recruit students to courses that have traditionally produced our engineering and technical talent. Apprenticeships can work well, but there are only a few of them in this area. Essentially, young people don’t know about the career paths in the broadcast technology sector to even take these apprenticeships up. We have a large scale national, and international, campaign that needs to happen to inspire, educate and inform young people about this vibrant sector that underpins all of our media and entertainment consumption. So no, there aren’t enough training opportunities. But before we address this, we need to reach young people (and also those looking to re-train), to really highlight what a career in this industry could look like for them.
Including Rise, do you have any key resources you would recommend for someone wanting to excel in broadcast technology – or even just learn more about different paths?
There are some great industry resources: Broadcast Tech Magazine / TVB Europe / DPP / IABM / DTG / NAB / IBC 365 – to name a few.
Having a clear road map of specific job roles though is slightly trickier and I am working with ScreenSkills on this.
We hope to have job profiles posted here by this time next year: https://www.screenskills.com/starting-your-career/job-profiles/
I’ll keep you posted on this!
We are having conversations about gender and diversity a lot more in the last few years, are these being reflected in employment statistics?
No, not yet. I think the momentum is happening now and many companies have committed to full equality, diversity and inclusion policies and programmes of work. The proof will be if we start to see the numbers shift over the coming couple of years. Interestingly I have been trying to find a source that can estimate how many new entrants the sector needs on an annual basis, so the diversity of the talent pipeline can we be monitored, but I have struggled to find this. But what we do know from the Rise / IABM survey last year, is that the majority of C’level positions are occupied by men, women earn a lot less and the industry is 83% white. I’d love to report that these numbers have moved in the next few years.
Do you have any words of wisdom for women struggling to find a space for themselves in broadcast technology?
Find support – Rise is a great way to expand your network and meet women and men who can support you in your career. Find mentoring programmes that might work for you, whether this is Rises’ or maybe an internal programme. We know from the feedback we get year on year that mentoring and peer support can literally change someone’s life. So don’t sit alone, please do reach out to me or to any of the Rise Board members across the UK / Northern America or APAC – we’re here for you.