Comedic duo the Bondi Hipsters
Comedic duo the Bondi Hipsters

We’re not sure anyone was in doubt, but in case you were, today comes proof that Australia’s media and entertainment workers really are a bunch of inner-city hipsters clustered around a small number of suburbs in Sydney, home to one in three, and Melbourne.

According to an analysis in PwC’s annual Entertainment and Media Outlook, which charts the five-year prospects of a range of media sectors, from music to newspapers, one in four of Australia’s creative workforce lives in a handful of Sydney suburbs in the east and inner west, including Bondi, Newtown, Camperdown and Darlinghurst. In Victoria, where 26% of the industry resides, St Kilda and Richmond house the most media and entertainment workers, followed by St Kilda East, Elwood and Brunswick.

The figures come from PwC’s own analysis, informed by census data.

Four in five (82.7%) of Australia’s entertainment and media workforce speak only one language. And it’s a young person’s industry — the average age is 27.

The lack of diversity in Australia’s entertainment and media industry is a key plank of the report, which begins by highlighting Australia’s place in Asia, suggesting we’re woefully unprepared to engage with the region. It highlights the success that’s come to several businesses that have been open and able to engage with Asia, and notes that “accessing emerging high-growth markets can’t be planned from the safety of a Sydney or Melbourne office”. It’s a big market to get in on; PwC predicts the Chinese film industry will become the biggest in the world — eclipsing Hollywood — next year.

An analysis of historical census data in the report notes that, in 1911, the average Australian was a male 24-year-old Anglican farmer, giving way 50 years later to a 29-year-old Anglican office worker. In 2011, however, the average Australian was a 37-year-old Catholic woman working in retail — the religion suggests some measure of ethnic diversity. But the average boss was a 45-year-old Caucasian male who was far less likely to be bilingual than the average population — “essentially, he’s the son of Mr 1961, statistically underrepresented in Australia’s population but significantly over-represented amongst business decision makers”, the report states. And, it seems, among Australia’s media industry.

Radio is especially singled out for its lack of diversity — though it is of a different kind to that alluded to above: one wouldn’t dare accuse its hosts, particularly in the AM band, of being hipsters. Among the city breakfast and drive-time hosts, 70% were over 40, and 80% were male. The audience, however, split almost equally between men and women, and only 45% of listeners were over 40.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey