Story at a glance
- Between 2010 and 2019, representation of Hispanic workers in the media grew by just 1 percent.
- In contrast, representation grew by 3 percent in non-media industries during the same time frame.
- The report calls on the Federal Communications Commission and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to develop a data sharing plan to help address the problem.
Despite a growing push to increase diversity in media, a new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found Hispanic workers were underrepresented in the industry from 2010 through 2019.
The data, which compared representation to that of the rest of the U.S. workforce, also showed Hispanic representation grew by just 1 percent in that time frame, compared with 3 percent in non-media industries.
Hispanic workers were also more likely to perform service jobs, while Hispanic men were more likely to hold jobs in the media industry than Hispanic women.
“While the media industry employs a relatively small share of workers in the United States, it plays an important role in entertaining and educating the public—from producing movies and television programming, to publishing books and providing news coverage,” the report reads.
“As the U.S. population has become more diverse, many media companies have come to recognize the importance of employing a diverse workforce and reflecting diverse perspectives on screen and inprint.”
But news reports, studies, and policymakers have raised questions about workforce diversity in the media industry, including for Hispanic workers, the authors wrote.
A 2022 Pew Research Center survey of nearly 12,000 journalists reflected similar concerns, as workers generally gave newsrooms mixed grades on how well their organizations build a diverse staff.
That survey also found under half of respondents felt their organization considers issues of diversity and inclusion a major priority.
The GAO report identified several challenges that may contribute to lower Hispanic media representation, including financial barriers, difficulty obtaining the necessary education and limited access to professional networks.
In addition, equal employment opportunity requirements in the media are enforced through complaint investigations and audits. But the Federal Communications Commission currently relies on companies’ self-reported complaints to do so, leaving room for improvement.
To address these issues, the GAO recommends the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and FCC develop a data sharing plan, while both agencies say they’ve begun to take steps to address the issue.
Several media companies have also announced initiatives aimed at increasing workforce diversity in recent years, including leadership commitment, recruitment efforts and diversity training, according to the report.
Of the 25 media companies reviewed, 15 publicly posted information about their workforce diversity initiatives. Some offered targeted development programs like apprenticeships to boost representation of underrepresented groups while others partnered with multicultural advocacy
organizations for underrepresented groups to help develop talent.