The European Cinema trade grouping UNIC – representing national associations and cinema operators across 39 territories – last week officially launched the UNIC People Program, its five work streams for the year ahead, and its newly formed advisory board.
This new initiative aims to help the cinema industry maintain its position as an employer of choice, recognizing that the ultimate competitive advantage of any organization lies in its people. With new challenges emerging post-pandemic in particular in recruiting, developing, and investing in its workforce, the cinema industry must adapt to the ever-changing landscape of today's World. The program strives to ensure that the industry remains well-placed to attract and retain top talent.
To achieve its mission, the program has identified five key work streams to ensure the industry is evolving to meet the needs of its employees and remains positioned as an attractive and premier employer that attracts and retains top talent:
Awareness of employment opportunities
Training and career progression
Internal culture and values
Diversity, equity and inclusion
In addition to launching the program, UNIC also announced its newly formed advisory board, chaired by Dee Vassili, Chief People Officer, Vue International. Additional appointments include: Phil Clapp, President UNIC and CEO UK Cinema Association (Vice-Chair); Katharina Phebey, Head of Marketing & Content, Member of the Management Board, Kinopolis; Nevena Brasanac, Programming manager for SouthEast Europe, Cineplexx International; Zarah Doyle, People Director UK and Ireland at Odeon Cinemas Group.
Vassili said, "We believe that investing in people is essential to the continued success and growth of the cinema industry. The UNIC People Program aims to raise awareness, provide informed insights and share potential approaches on how to continue to attract and retain talent within the cinema industry, in a world where the only constant is change. "
Phil Clapp, CEO of the UK Cinema Association and Deputy Chair of the Advisory Board, emphasized the importance of the timing of the announcement. "Some may ask why, and maybe even more so, why now?” he said. “The answer to both questions is that the UNIC People Program aims to help address the particular challenges the cinema industry is facing at the moment. We need to do more to drive positive change and ensure that the cinema industry remains an attractive employer choice for future generations."
“In an increasingly competitive marketplace, the cinema industry must actively engage in the search for talent”, Laura Houlgatte, CEO at UNIC, stated. She further explained: “As markets experience full employment, the cinema industry is required to compete more than ever with other leisure, retail, and hospitality sectors for skilled professionals. Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic seems to have brought about a paradigm shift in employee needs and expectations. Addressing these challenges, the UNIC People Program seeks to renew an attractive employment proposition for the cinema industry. Through its focused work streams, the program will create a vibrant and inclusive community that celebrates the magic of cinema while offering fulfilling and rewarding roles and careers."
Supporting the new program are two longstanding industry partners: Ferco Seating and Generation Media who will be joining as Strategic Advisors.
The UNIC People Program will continue its efforts through planned panels, webinars, and podcasts, with an upcoming panel scheduled during the UNIC Cinema Days in Brussels in October and the publication of a toolkit in June 2024.
More information about the UNIC People Program and its forthcoming activity can be found here: https://www.unic-cinemas.org/en/industry/people-programme/