EVENT | HR Forum 2018 Highlights

nbcuniversalLast week saw the 11th edition of the HR Forum take place at NBCUniversal. This year’s theme focused on the Changing Workplace, with insights into the industry, the gender pay gap and the future of work.

We welcomed guest speakers from the likes of NBCUniversal, A+E Networks, Ofcom and Creative Diversity Network, all in a series of discussions and presentations. Kicking off the event was the keynote from Rob Bell, EVP International New Media at NBCUniversal, who delved into the media landscape in 2018 and all its trends. While the SVOD players are rapidly growing, major entities including NBCUniversal are maintaining their status with new revolutionary ideas.

Following Rob, we moved into the panel discussion, focusing on gender equality. Chaired by Ofcom’s Jacquie Hughes, Director of Content Policy, the discussion was geared towards HR professionals recognising flexible working, and panellists Deborah Williams (Creative Diversity Network), Maria Walker (Twickenham Studios) and Laura Farnsworth (Lewis Silkin) were all keen to share their opinions and experience. With the gender pay gap reporting deadline set for 5th April for private companies and 31st March for the public sector, the BBC reports that almost two-thirds of businesses are yet to report their figures. Maria, COO at Twickenham Studios, put her early success down to determination and would not play the game. And with that approach, she has become the COO at Twickenham Studios and now ensures the business has a 50/50 gender split, even amongst senior positions. Deborah was focused on ensuring the content side of the media landscape is ensuring women can excel in their careers, breaking through the glass ceiling just as Maria has done. However, all the panellists agreed that there was still a long way to go in getting the message out.

Following a short break, the first of two presentations from Lewis Silkin – The Burning Agenda for HR in Media – presented by Russell Brimelow and Alex Milner-Smith. Taking a look at the range of hot HR topics, Russell discussed the gig economy, which has rapidly grown since our previous HR forum. With the likes of Uber appealing rulings that they are indeed an employer, the right of substitution will not be a factor in future cases. Russell also dedicated significant time to the #MeToo! Movement, highlighting the high levels of sexual harassment experienced by women in the workplace – around 53% of women in the UK have suffered harassment of this nature. With high-profile figures now accused in Hollywood, the trend has increased rapidly in the final quarter of 2017.

Alex took a look at Brexit and the possible outcomes – from remaining in customs union, or single market, or different types of agreements. All presentations from Lewis Silkin are available for download – send an email to quintin@luminasearch.com to request the presentations.

An entertaining session from Karl Burnett, VP Human Resources at A+E Networks UK, demonstrated how the business won Broadcast’s Best Companies to Work for in TV this year. Split between a written proposal, focusing on HR policies and case studies, and a staff survey, the award demonstrated the success of A+E Networks and their employee engagement. From staff initiatives, creative environments and new technologies for employees, A+E Networks have revolutionised the HR media landscape.

The final session, hosted by Lewis Silkin’s James Davies, focused on the progress and changes the workplace will see in near future. Focusing on the changing demographic, in terms of both an aging population and more women choosing to continue their careers. Since the 1970s, female participation in the workforce was just 36.5%, but the following decades have increased this figure to 46%. We continue to see this upward trend (but slightly slower) with modern-day movements – #MeToo, the gender pay gap and flexible working becoming key topics. Employees’ relationship with technology at work will also change, with data protection and social media reputation becoming a prominent area. James raised the concept of Universal Basic Income, which Finland has been trialling recently, which could cover the impacts from automation and artificial intelligence may bring.

Here at Lumina, we would like to thanks our hosts NBCUniversal and our sponsors Lewis Silkin and Grapevinejobs, plus a big thanks for all the delegates who attended this insightful day.