What it's like to work here

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At Southbank Centre, we encourage growth, creativity and opportunity for all in the workplace. Scroll down to read profiles of some of our staff to find out what it's really like to work here.

What’s it like to work at Southbank Centre?

Southbank Centre is a place that unites people through the exchange of ideas, the power of creativity and the imagination and through freedom of expression. We passionately believe in the power of art, ideas and creativity to inspire, educate and effect change. Born out of the Festival of Britain in 1951, we are proud to be the UK’s only permanent festival site and a place where people experience world-class art and culture. The festival spirit is the very heart of Southbank Centre and inspires everything that we do. Our employees are at the centre of delivering our mission, which is ‘to create a permanent sense of festival where the world meets to celebrate the power of the imagination’.

We offer a stimulating and professional environment in which to work - and the pace and scale can be breathtaking. We welcome millions of visitors each year, provide a unique educational offer to thousands of schools, young people and adults, and have a network of world-class artists from every genre who regard Southbank Centre as their home, including our four outstanding resident orchestras. We put on over 2500 new artistic productions, installations and performances each year, and our entrepreneurial drive supports our artistic ambition through the sensitive integration of commercial activity across our site. This is a remarkable place to work and our people require the ability to work in The Southbank Centre Way - to think, act and learn with speed and agility.

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A creative and supportive work environment

Southbank Centre encourages inclusion, growth, creativity and opportunity for all our staff. This can take many forms through the different stages of a career with us – with development including formal and informal training, secondments, special responsibilities and collaboration with other departments. 

We have more than 470 members of staff – most of whom are based at Southbank Centre itself (but also at Yorkshire Sculpture Park and Winchester House). Ours is a fast-paced, aspirational environment, so we ask everyone involved in our work to bring creativity to their role, whatever it is they do. This allows us to challenge established ways of working, and embrace the vitality and positive change that comes from our differences. 

Scroll down to read profiles with some of our staff to find out what it's really like to work here.

Our commitment to diversity and inclusion

Southbank Centre is a place where everyone is welcomed.  We believe that art must be available to the many and not just the few, and our staff deliver a programme that celebrates the diverse experiences of people and cultures.  We present work for everyone and we welcome applications from everyone. By attracting people to work for us from a broad range of backgrounds with diverse attitudes, opinions and beliefs we can continue to look at the world with fresh eyes and find new ways of doing things.

We particularly welcome applications from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) candidates and deaf and disabled people, as they are currently under-represented across our workforce.  Our diversity strategy aims to build an organisation that understands and values staff with a diversity of backgrounds, ideas, skills and experience as they contribute to greater creativity, innovation and effective decision making, and will help us have a greater understanding of the way to attract and meet the needs of diverse audiences.  We have a range of initiatives and programmes including apprenticeships; work experience programmes with local schools and charities; our volunteering programme; structured paid internships and work placements in conjunction with education partners; and targeted development programmes to support internal progression for staff.

In line with our commitment to being an organisation where everyone is welcome and able to thrive, we have joined the Department of Work and Pensions’ Disability Confident Employer Scheme. We are committed to ensuring our recruitment process is inclusive and accessible; offering an interview to disabled people who meet the minimum criteria for a job; anticipating and providing reasonable adjustments as required; and supporting any existing employee who acquires a disability or long-term health condition.

Department of Work and Pensions’ Disability Confident Employer Scheme

Southbank Centre was named Overall Winner - Small Employer of the Year at the enei Awards 2017 in recognition of our efforts in building a truly representative workforce. Southbank Centre also won the award for most Representative Workforce, demonstrating the success of our diversity strategy.

Employers Network for Equality and Inclusion

In 2017, we were named one of the Times Top 50 Employers for Women for the third year in a row.  We also won two awards at BITC’s Workplace Gender Equality Awards 2016 - the Engaging Women award and the Game Changer award.  

Workplace Gender Equality Awards

We are proud supporters of the Ban the Box campaign which seeks to create fair opportunities for ex-offenders.  We do not request information about unspent criminal convictions on our application forms, in order to remove a barrier which prevents ex-offenders from applying for roles. 

Ban the Box strategy

We have pledged to tackle mental health stigma in the workplace through the Time to Change initiative.  Our action plan includes mental health awareness training for employees and managers; a review of our policies on supporting mental health; wellbeing events; and social groups including our popular lunchtime knitting club.  

Time to Change and our pledge

In 2016, we were named one of the Times Top 50 Employers for Women for the second year in a row.  We also won two awards at BITC’s Workplace Gender Equality Awards 2016 - the Engaging Women award and the Game Changer award.  

Workplace Gender Equality Awards

The Southbank Centre Way

The Southbank Centre Way is a framework that sets out how we want our people to work together, enjoying what we do. It describes the qualities that drive our ability to inspire, provoke and transform lives and illustrates behaviours that make Southbank Centre a warm and welcoming destination in which to work, perform or visit. 

The language that forms the Southbank Centre Way comes from the people who work here. We have captured their words to help everyone we work with understand us. We believe it is vital for our staff to display these qualities and behaviours for us to be the world class organisation we aspire to be. We also look for these attributes as part of our selection process.

meet our staff