ARGONON LAUNCHES GROUP-WIDE DIVERSITY CAMPAIGN
Super-indie, Argonon, announced the launch of Argonon For Everyone – a campaign to find, support and nurture a diverse team across the group, which is made up of Leopard Drama, Leopard Films, Leopard USA, Remedy Productions, Remedy Canada, Transparent Television, Windfall Films, Blacklisted Films and joint venture BriteSpark Films.
With a long history of finding and nurturing diverse talent on and off screen, Argonon is now deepening their commitment to fostering diversity throughout the company and leading by example amongst media groups. Argonon has also been committed to the Creative Diversity Network’s Diversity Pledge since 2009.
Launched by Argonon founder and CEO James Burstall, Argonon For Everyone strongly supports Project Diamond to help determine if the TV industry truly reflects the UK population. As part of the campaign, Argonon is setting up schemes to attract the very best talent from all backgrounds and put diversity at the heart of all decisions across the group, at every level.
James Burstall, CEO of Argonon, says: “Diversity is critically important to Argonon and now with extreme politics emerging across the planet threatening our plurality and openness, it is ever more urgent to commit further and act upon supporting and nurturing a mixed, diverse ecology. Our audiences and clients demand it.
“Confidently and resolutely we combine exceptional creative and entrepreneurial talent from all backgrounds, regardless of race, gender, age, sexuality, religion or disability. Our rich mix is what makes us great – and indeed who we are.
“We want to communicate that we are looking for more talented presenters, writers, producers, directors, executive producers, script editors, researchers and skilled technicians – in fact diverse talent at every level.”
A group-wide survey was conducted in September 2016 to establish a greater understanding of Argonon’s diversity, inform the campaign strategy and set targets for all new commissions on and off-screen.
Some key results are listed below, and have provided Argonon with valuable insight into the make-up of its existing staff – highlighting the areas of strength and where there is more work needed to improve diversity.
The results reflect the numbers of current Argonon employees who responded to the survey:
54% of the respondents from across the whole workforce are women.
29% of the respondents from the executive team are women.
13% are lesbian, bisexual, gay or transgender – above the national average target.
16% are from a Black, Asian or ethnic minority background.
4% disclosed a disability.
18% of our workforce disclosed that their household received income support at some point during their school years.
19% received free school meals during their school years.
41% disclosed that their parents/guardians didn’t complete a university degree course or equivalent such as BA, BSc or higher.
Argonon is committed to reporting annually on its diversity goals and their impact. Following the results of the Argonon For Everyone survey, new objectives, processes and schemes are to be rolled out before the end of the year or to start in 2017, enabling the group to deliver on their diversity commitment. These include:
Setting in-house diversity targets to be met by 2020*.
All Staff now**
Exec Team now**
UK by 2020
Diamond diversity monitoring – Working collaboratively with Creative Diversity Network and UK broadcasters to deliver and create a high awareness of, and commitment to, the effective collection of diversity data within the company using Diamond. Appointing a Diamond champion in each of Argonon’s companies.
Commissioning diversity guidelines – ensure that every new commissioned programme in every genre works towards increasing diverse talent participation both on and off-screen. Actively to start using the Commissioning Diversity Guidelines set by UK broadcasters and PACT. The performance against these guidelines will be measured by the Diamond monitoring system.
Specialist recruitment of staff with disabilities – increase the number of candidates with disclosed disabilities who are interviewed for job vacancies, but working with specialist disability agencies and head-hunters and improve data capture.
Social mobility recruitment – increase the number of candidates who identify themselves as coming from a socially-disadvantaged background. Work with UK charity, the Social Mobility Foundation to find the most effective way to introduce this initiative.
Head-hunter diversity commitment – to substantially increase the diversity of candidates proposed by head-hunters by communicating Argonon’s commitment to diversity to employment agencies and head-hunter suppliers and formalise agreements to deliver this.
Executive and board diversity review process – report and review progress against key diversity goals by the Argonon Executive team and Board.
Diversity reporting – annually report on diversity goals and the impact of Argonon’s diversity initiatives.
Creative Access – since June 2014, Argonon has worked in partnership with Creative Access to give nine graduate interns from BAME backgrounds the opportunity for a paid placement with various companies within the group. Some Creative Access graduates have since secured contracts with the company. Argonon is fully committed to offering further placements in the future.