Women working in the UK film industry earn less thantheir male counterparts despite being better qualified, according to a majornew survey conducted by the UK Film Council and Skillset.

The Feature Film Production Workforce Survey, which isbased on responses from 903 people working in feature films, also found that mostpeople working in the industry get their jobs through word of mouth and live inLondon and the South East.

The organisations said the survey underlines the need forthe film industry to be more open and to recruit from the widest possible poolof talent, while providing better skills training for new entrants and thosealready working in the industry.

Among the key findings of survey were:

- Women make up 33% of the workforce and earn less thanmen. 35% of women earn less than £20,000pa compared to 18% of men. In thehigher salary brackets 30% of men earn £50k+ compared with 16% of women.

- There were almost no women in the camera, sound,electrical and construction departments while the majority of those working inmake-up and hairdressing were women.

- Film production is also predominately white with only 1in 20 from a minority ethnic background. This represents just 5% of theworkforce.

- The main route into the film industry is through wordof mouth - 81% had been recruited in this way.

- film production has a highly qualified workforce. 46%are graduates compared with 19% of the UK workforce as a whole. However, veryfew people had experienced formal, organised film industry training.

- Incomes vary hugely in film production - 25% of surveyrespondents reported a gross income of £50,000 or more from all theiraudio-visual work, yet 23% earned less than £20,000.

- Unemployment rates are high with 71% having beenunemployed at least once over the previous year and more than a third (35%)having spent more than 10 weeks of the year unemployed.

Increasing opportunities and improving skills trainingfor new entrants and existing industry workers are key areas being addressed byA Bigger Future, the five year, £50 million UK Film Skills Strategy launchedlast year by Skillset and the UK Film Council, and through the industry'sLeadership on Diversity Group which is developing an industry-wide equalitystandard.

Dinah Caine, chief executive of Skillset, said: "Film hasa highly qualified workforce but one which faces a multitude of difficultieskeeping their skills levels apace with the changing needs of the industry. Theindustry also has, on average, an older workforce with few structured, equitableroutes in for new talent from a diversity of backgrounds."