Results of BIID’s diversity in interior design survey

The British Institute of Interior Design (BIID) has announced the results of the first research project into diversity in interior design.

The research was carried out to gain a detailed picture of the current landscape of the UK’s interior design sector and to provide a foundation to achieving a more diverse and inclusive profession in the future.

The research project covered three main areas: an analysis of the diversity of interior design BA and MA students at UK educational institutions;  An analysis of post graduate employment patterns; And a diversity survey aimed at currently practicing interior designers.

The student research positively indicates that students from less privileged socio-economic backgrounds and students from ethnic minorities feel that interior design is a career choice for them and are choosing to study it in high numbers. In fact, 29% of interior design students are from an ethnic background compared to 23% of all UK students.

However, the results of the post graduate research indicate that there may currently be barriers to entry and/or progression in the UK interior design industry. Ethnic minority graduates from ID courses are more than twice as likely to end up in low-skilled occupations (25%) compared to ethnic minority graduates from other courses (11%)

Of the BAME contributors to the survey only a small percentage were in senior positions or head of studio, highlighting a lack of progression upwards in the industry.

The challenge now for the BIID, and the wider interior design profession, is to ensure that as many students as possible are able to go on to successful careers as interior designers, and that barriers to their success are removed.

You can read the results in full on the BIID website

The diversity in interior design survey was carried out between September and December 2020. It was completed by 363 designers, of which 53% are members of the BIID. The Diversity Analysis of Interior Design Students and Graduate Outcomes Analysis was provided by Isabella Image, a member of the Royal Statistical Society from data obtained by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA)

Get involved

If you want to get involved with changing our industry, two interesting initiatives were launched last year aimed at taking positive action to promote the interests of BAME people in the design community.

The first is the Design for Diversity Pledge launched by Kate Watson Smyth and Rukmini Patel. It is a three-point Pledge covering, Visibility, Opportunity and Accessibility and is a first step to working towards a more diverse design industry and giving brands, businesses and bloggers a guideline on areas they can work on.

The second initiative is United In Design, a charitable organisation set up by Alexandria Dauley and Sophie Ashby, to address the lack of diversity within the interior industries. They have already launched an apprenticeship scheme and mentor programme.

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