While many media companies now recognize the importance of diversity on screen and in print, Hispanic workers were underrepresented in the media workforce from 2010-19.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Federal Communications Commission share responsibility for protecting media workers from discrimination. But EEOC no longer shares data on discrimination complaints filed against the media companies that FCC oversees.
Also, EEOC doesn't know if all unions that are required to file member demographic reports are doing so. But it needs the reports to investigate discrimination complaints.
Our recommendations address these issues.
What GAO Found
Hispanic workers are underrepresented in the media industry compared to their representation in the rest of the U.S. workforce. Little change occurred from 2010 through 2019, according to GAO's analysis of the Census Bureau's American Community Survey data (see fig.). The extent of underrepresentation in the media varied by occupation and gender. Stakeholders GAO interviewed identified challenges Hispanics may face working in the industry, such as access to professional networks.
Estimated Percentage of Workers in the Media and in Non-media Industries Who Are Hispanic, 2010 through 2019
Note: Estimates in the figure have relative standard errors of less than 4 percent.
Leadership commitment, recruitment efforts, and diversity training were among the steps that selected large media companies publicly reported taking to promote workforce diversity.
Federal agencies use complaint investigations and audits to enforce equal employment opportunity (EEO) requirements in the media industry, but gaps in agencies' data sharing and union reporting may hinder enforcement. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) no longer have an agreement in place to enable EEOC to share enforcement data. FCC instead relies on companies to self-report discrimination complaints filed against the companies. EEOC's sharing of such data could help FCC determine company compliance with EEO rules. Additionally, according to some stakeholders we interviewed, unions play an important role in helping some media workers obtain employment, and EEOC requires certain unions to file a report on member demographics. However, EEOC officials do not know whether the list of filers is missing unions that should file, nor when the list was last comprehensively updated. Officials told GAO they were exploring options for updating the list. By improving its approach to identifying unions required to file the reports, EEOC will have more complete information to consider when investigating discrimination complaints.
Why GAO Did This Study
The media industry plays a key role in educating and entertaining the public, but some policymakers have raised questions about workforce diversity in the industry. EEOC, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), and FCC generally oversee media companies' compliance with EEO requirements. GAO was asked to review the representation of Hispanics in the media industry and related federal oversight.
This report examines (1) the representation of Hispanics in the media industry over the last decade, (2) steps selected media companies publicly reported taking to increase workforce diversity, and (3) how key federal agencies have enforced federal EEO requirements in the industry.
GAO analyzed data from the Census Bureau's American Community Survey data for 2010-2019, the most recent data available when GAO did the analysis. GAO interviewed agency officials and stakeholders, including organizations representing media workers and employers. GAO also reviewed diversity reports published on the websites of 15 large media companies, selected in part based on the companies' market value. GAO also reviewed agency documents and enforcement data.
GAO is making three recommendations, including that EEOC and FCC develop a data sharing plan. FCC agreed and EEOC neither agreed nor disagreed with these recommendations. Both agencies said they have begun taking steps to address them.
Recommendations for Executive Action
|Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
|The Chair of EEOC should work with FCC to develop a new memorandum of understanding that includes a plan for EEOC to routinely share data with FCC regarding discrimination charges filed against broadcasters and cable and satellite television operators. (Recommendation 1)
|Federal Communications Commission
|The Chair of FCC should work with EEOC to develop a new memorandum of understanding that includes a plan for EEOC to routinely share data with FCC regarding discrimination charges filed against broadcasters and cable and satellite television operators. (Recommendation 2)
|Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
|The Chair of EEOC should improve EEOC's approach to routinely identify local unions required to file an EEO-3 report to help ensure that they file such reports on the demographics of union members. (Recommendation 3)