Backstage Promotes More Diverse Hiring

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Photo Source: Backstage, talent for hire Moon Eldridge and Anna Gage

Backstage is committed to educating and empowering our members to make more diverse casting and hiring decisions. 

Diversity in casting and crew staffing makes for more authentic, relatable storytelling. And research shows that diverse, equitable, and inclusive hiring in everything from film, TV, and theater productions to commercial and branded content is increasingly expected by audiences.

Equitable and inclusive casting and crew staffing also means more opportunity for talent and talent seekers. As creators and viewers, we are beyond a crucial tipping point where DEI in casting and crew staffing is no longer novel or audacious, it’s imperative and important.

Backstage’s platform tools and resources are designed to make hiring more diverse, equitable, and inclusive.

Profile tools let you be your full self

We work with DEI specialists to continually evaluate how we help facilitate the ongoing transformation of our industry. We want skilled performers and production staff to be able to identify themselves accurately and be more discoverable by talent seekers, all while improving access to talent that otherwise might continue to be overlooked. 

One of the ways we’ve put our values into action is by implementing important changes to our tools and resources.

Diversity

Individuals with diverse backgrounds, identities, attributes, and abilities have long been underrepresented or misrepresented in mainstream contexts. There is no question positive depictions through the arts and popular media assist in reducing stereotypes of underrepresented and marginalized groups.

Backstage seeks to create and promote a diverse talent marketplace, where talent can accurately identify themselves by ethnicity, gender expression, body type, different abilities, and other keywords to make them more discoverable by talent seekers. 

Talent profiles on Backstage for nine different ethnicities, including for individuals of African-American, Latino and Hispanic, Middle Easter, Asian, South Asian, and Native American descent, have increased exponentially over the last four years. Talent of African-American and Latino and Hispanic descent have increased by almost tenfold. 

We have ensured better self-identification among talent by completely rebuilding how gender identity and expression are represented. To allow all talent on Backstage to appropriately and equally represent themselves, we have introduced 27 new gender options for talent profiles. Members also have an option to create their own description if they find one of our options does not accurately represent them.

Equity

Equity means recognizing not everyone has the same opportunities and providing individuals what they need to overcome—intentional or unintentional—barriers that create an imbalance in access to opportunity and success.

To make discovery more equitable, Backstage has changed how talent is found in search based on ethnicity, body type, abilities, and gender—specifically non-cisgender candidates. Our search tool is designed to include additional gender identities so, for example, directors looking for cisgender male or female talent will see non-cisgender talent included in their search results. Non-cisgender talent will likewise receive relevant casting and audition notices to ensure more people are included in opportunities. 

We have also enhanced visibility during the job posting process by adding instructional content to our role-creation form that educates creators on the benefits of diverse and inclusive casting. This addition prompted the creation of more than 10,000 unique roles specific to non-cisgender people within a single year.

Inclusion and belonging

Inclusion and belonging ensures people from diverse groups are not just included but feel welcome and are able to participate as who they are. 

Backstage profiles provide options to fully describe body type, ethnicities, abilities, and other attributes so individuals can promote who they are in the way that suits them best. Talent profiles also include personal pronouns to ensure talent can express who they are and be accurately addressed in messaging and direct communications. This seemingly small detail has big impact by preventing misunderstandings and eliminating unnecessary stressors, like talent having to self-identify during auditions. 

Our ongoing commitment 

Backstage is committed to continuing to find new ways to promote diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging in our messaging, tools, and own workplace practices. As we learn and do better, we will adjust, enhance, and grow our product offerings and features to ensure talent can be fully themselves on our platform while also enabling and promoting the value of better talent decisions. 

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