Recent research from Rovva, the business support platform, analysed the most featured occupations of major cast members from 100 of the most popular UK produced TV shows. 

It found:

  • Channel 4 is the most diverse channel when it comes to portraying the real life job roles of those in Britain
  • Yet it still doesn’t go far enough to reflect worker shortages the country faces: The most commonly represented job on Channel 4 is community service personnel/carers however the UK is in desperate need of 40,000 nurses
  • Job representation across all UK channels is an indictment of the UK recruitment crisis: Out of the top TV shows, only 0.3% of characters are drivers, reflecting the scarcity of numbers in the UK

It has long been claimed that TV plays a major role in facilitating the younger generations’ career choices. A 2017 study by Fletchers Solicitorsrevealed that 39% of Millennials had been inspired to take up a profession based on a TV show. But with job vacancies reaching a record high, and 41 per cent of the global workforce considering leaving their employer this year, does TV today reflect the true nature of the British jobs market and the positions that need to be filled?

Rovva’s research also revealed:

Top 10 professions depicted on UK TV 

  1. Police officer
  2. Spy
  3. Business owner
  4. Civil servant 
  5. Personal assistant
  6. Medical doctor
  7. Criminal
  8. Mafia gangster
  9. Journalist
  10. Military

Top channel for role diversity in the UK

  • Winner: Channel 4
  • Runner up: BBC 2

Carer is the most-seen job on Channel 4

Channel 4 portrays 36 different jobs on screen, making it the platform with the most varied number of roles, closely followed by BBC 2 which portrays 35 different careers. The most commonly represented job on Channel 4 is the community service personnel or carer, which equates to 25% of the top onscreen characters on the channel. This role was recently depicted in the drama ‘Help’, shedding light on Britain during the Covid-19 pandemic. Yet despite its common depiction on-screen, there are significant worker shortages across the healthcare industry, with resignation rates rising by 3.61% from March 2020 to March 2021.

At a time when the UK finds itself in desperate need of 100,000 HGV drivers to aid with logistics and supply chain issues, we find drivers are also vastly underrepresented on-screen, with this profession only equating to 0.3% of the jobs we see on TV.

Commenting on the results of the research, Managing Director at Rovva, Jon Abrahams, said:.

“The country is currently on a huge recruitment drive for both the police and healthcare professionals to name a few industries. However, showing frank and honest representations of these roles on our TV screens where they are lacking may help to inspire people into professions they otherwise may not have considered.”

“Research previously carried out by other companies has also highlighted the influence that TV has on our career decisions. Maybe now is the time to push for more shows depicting the popularity of scientists or farmers that not only helps to shape future generations’ career paths but helps with ongoing issues of sustainability for our planet.”

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