Tuesday, 14 January 2014

UK Creative Industries success story in hard economic times

(Image source: Fotolia)
The UK Department for Culture, Media and Sport released the Creative Industries Economic Estimates today. They show an incredible story of growth and success for the UK Creative Industries compared to the incredibly shallow growth in the rest of the UK economy.
The creative industries reportedly generate £8m per hour for the UK economy and employment within the creative industries increased at more than 10 times the prevailing rate of UK job growth.

These Creative Industries Economic Estimates are Official Statistics used to measure the direct economic contribution of the Creative Industries to the UK Economy. The estimates have been produced using ONS National Statistics sources. The Official Statistics measure the contribution made by the Creative Industries to the UK Economy, including Employment, GVA and Exports of Services.
Link to the Creative Industries Economic Estimates

The Creative Industries were defined as “those industries which have their origin in individual creativity, skill and talent and which have a potential for wealth and job creation through the generation and exploitation of intellectual property”. These estimates uses an enhanced method to go further in its assessment of what is a creative industry. The methodology comprises three steps. 1st, a set of occupations are identified as creative. 2nd, creative intensity is calculated for all industries in the economy. 3rd, all industries with a creative intensity above a certain “threshold” are classified as Creative Industries.

Some Key terms before the Stats

The Creative Economy, which includes the contribution of those who are in creative occupations outside the creative industries as well as all those employed in the Creative Industries.
The Creative Industries, a subset of the Creative Economy which includes only those working in the Creative Industries themselves (and who may either be in creative occupations or in other roles e.g. finance).
GVA or Gross Value Added is a measure in economics of the value of goods and services produced in an area, industry or sector of an economy. Gross Value Added is measured in current prices (i.e. they do not account for inflation).

The Key Findings

Creative Economy Employment (2011 – 2012)

  • The Creative Economy accounted for 2.55 million jobs in 2012, or 1 out of every 12 jobs in the UK.
  • IT, software and computer services was the largest Creative Economy group, with employment of 791 thousand in 2012 (31% of employment in the Creative Economy).
  • Employment within the Creative Economy grew by 143 thousand (6.0%) between 2011 and 2012, a higher rate than for the UK Economy as a whole (0.7%).

Creative Industries Employment (2011 – 2012)

  • The Creative Industries accounted for 1.68 million jobs in 2012, 5.6 per cent of the total number of jobs in the UK.
  • Employment in the Creative Industries increased by 8.6 per cent between 2011 and 2012, a higher rate than for the UK Economy as a whole (0.7%).

Gross Value Added (GVA) (2008 – 2012)

  • GVA of the Creative Industries was £71.4 billion in 2012 and accounted for 5.2 per cent of the UK Economy.
  • GVA of the Creative Industries has increased by 15.6 per cent since 2008, compared with an increase of 5.4 per cent for the UK Economy as a whole.
  • GVA of the Creative Industries increased by 9.4 per cent between 2011 and 2012, higher than for any Blue Book industry sector in the National Accounts.

Exports of Services (2009 – 2011)

  • The value of services exported by the Creative Industries was £15.5 billion in 2011, 8.0 per cent of total UK service exports.
  • Between 2009 and 2011 the value of service exports from the Creative Industries increased by 16.1 per cent. This compares with an increase of 11.5 per cent for total UK service exports.


Economic estimates are by their very definition "dodgy" and so what store can we set against these figures? We can learn a few things.
The Creative Industries have done very well for the UK in this economic downturn. However, you parse these numbers they far exceed pretty much any other sector in the same period. The release of these numbers from the UK Government also shows a recognition (at last) of the volume, extent and importance of the Creative Industries to the UK economy.
We have fabulous Creative Industries in the UK, whether gaming, film production, fashion, advertising, software, media, publishing or architecture. I hope also that the clear and important role shown by the GLAM sector (Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums) is appreciated.

And for those prospective students thinking of coming to do one of our Masters degrees (links below), well the employment outlook is a great encouragement to take these subjects at King's:


  1. Thanks Simon, very interesting indeed. It's really good to see GLAMs included in these figures, and I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on the problem of measuring the value of their contribution. Annex D of the report (https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/271008/Creative_Industries_Economic_Estimates_-_January_2014.pdf) explains why they've not included estimates; the question is, would you propose any other measures they might use as a proxy, or is that just not appropriate for economic studies?

  2. Interesting- it follows very well a discourse made in Daniel Pink book " Whole New Mind". A shift toward an economy based on creative skills, in developed world ,versus a knowledge economy. A good read for sure.

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  5. The key is to understand the creative economy not as a unified entity, or as a single ‘logic’ of market economics to be imported wholesale across the world, but rather as an invitation to rethink – creatively – what development might mean in the everyday lives of people in diverse circumstances.

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