Just Sociology

The Underrepresentation of the Working Class in Media Outlets

The discussion surrounding the underrepresentation of the working class in media companies is an ongoing issue. One aspect of this issue is the retirement of John Humphrys from the Today programme, thus leaving a gap for a working class voice on the BBC.

Humphrys, who was known for his tough interviews and no-nonsense approach, has been viewed as a representative of the working class. His departure brings questions about who will fill his shoes, and whether there is anyone left with his background and insights to represent the working class.

However, research shows that media professionals are overwhelmingly from upper middle-class backgrounds. A 2016 survey conducted by the Sutton Trust found that 51% of BBC employees were from privileged backgrounds and just 12% from working-class backgrounds.

Similar findings were recorded for people working for Channel 4 and ITV. It is evident that there is a significant class disparity within the media industry.

Moreover, the BBC has come under criticism for being too white, middle-aged and middle-class. The media regulator, OFCOM, found the BBC to be severely lacking in diversity within its workforce.

The report highlighted that only 8% of senior leaders were from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds, and just 13% from a lower socio-economic background. Recruitment policies have been called into question, leaving the BBC to address these criticisms through its diversity targets and initiatives.

One reason for this underrepresentation is the location of media companies being predominantly concentrated in London. This can create a significant barrier for individuals from working-class backgrounds living outside of the capital.

Furthermore, internships have become essential for gaining entry-level positions within the media industry. Unpaid internships limit the opportunities for individuals from low-income backgrounds, demonstrating how parental support and wealth can influence the course of someone’s career.

While underrepresentation is an issue, how the working class is depicted within the media is equally noteworthy. Unfortunately, media professionals do not always portray working-class people accurately, with many of these representations being portrayed by white middle-class people.

The OFCOM report noted that the working class is often underrepresented or misrepresented in the media, especially in programming targeted at middle-class audiences. These slight depictions could be attributed to the lack of diversity within the media industry.

While progress has been made regarding diversity, it can still be argued that middle-class voices dominate the industry. The absence of a range of perspectives can lead to stereotyping and inaccuracies when representing certain groups of people.

In turn, this can lead to a failure to engage with audiences from different backgrounds and cultural experience fully. In conclusion, it is essential to recognize the underrepresentation of the working class within the media industry, both in terms of employment and portrayals.

Evidence demonstrates a significant disparity between privileged and working-class professionals within media outlets, which leads to inaccurate depictions of the working class. A lack of diversity within media companies and recruitment policies is a contributing factor to this underrepresentation, which needs to be addressed through initiatives and policies aimed at promoting inclusivity in the industry.

In conclusion, the under-representation of working-class individuals in media outlets is a troubling issue that limits the perspectives portrayed in various channels. The under-representation can be attributed to a lack of diversity within media companies, limited opportunities for entry-level positions, and stereotyping based on class backgrounds.

It is essential to address these barriers to create a more inclusive media industry that accurately represents all individuals.


Q: Why is there a lack of diversity within media companies?

A: Lack of diversity in media companies is since recruitment policies are not always equitable to all, resulting in a privileged class dominating the industry. Q: Can initiatives be taken at present to improve inclusivity in the industry?

A: Yes, diversity-specific initiatives and policies are being implemented by media companies to address the under-representation of certain groups, including the working class. Q: How does class disparity within media impact the portrayal of working-class people?

A: Due to middle and upper-class voices dominating the industry, working-class people are often inaccurately represented or underrepresented in the media outlets. Q: How can limited opportunities for entry-level positions be addressed?

A: Unpaid internships should be eliminated or replaced with paid internships to provide equal opportunities for those from different class backgrounds.

Popular Posts