Where Have All the PMs Gone?

  • Christa van Raalte (Speaker)
  • Rowan Aust (Contributor to Paper or Presentation)
  • Richard Wallis (Contributor to Paper or Presentation)

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation


The UK television industry has for years reported skills shortages impeding both quality of output and global competitiveness (ScreenSkills June 2022). The situation has recently been exacerbated by the influx of funding from streaming companies. The demand for high quality content represents a great growth opportunity for the industry; shortages of experienced, skilled professionals in key roles, however, represents a very real risk to our ability to respond to that opportunity and indeed to the sustainability of the British industry.

The skills that consistently head the lists of shortages reported by organisations such as ScreenSkills, the BFI and the Work Foundation are those of experienced production managers (PMs) (eg ScreenSkills Feb 2022; ScreenSkills Sept 2022). The industry struggles to recruit to the role: more significantly, perhaps, it fails to retain the experienced PMs it has. This failure not only represents a level of wastage the industry can ill afford, it also represents a very human cost for those leaving the industry. Existing evidence suggests that for PMs, as for other television professionals the decision to abandon their careers is not taken lightly and is often taken with regret (Wallis et al 2019; Wreyford et al 2021). They take from the industry the skills and experience that are in short supply, because they feel the industry has left them no choice.

This British Academy funded project explores the lived experiences of people working in production management roles, and, particularly, of those who have left the industry. We seek to understand what the industry can do to retain critical talent. This paper will present our preliminary findings from the study.
Period4 Apr 2023
Event title11th Annual British Association of Film, Television and Screen Studies Conference: Sustainable Futures: Ethics, Responsibility and Care in Film, Television, Screen Studies and Practices
Event typeConference
Conference number11
LocationLincoln, United KingdomShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational