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Cultural industries expert co-authors report on jobs in creative economies

Professor Andy Pratt was part of the team behind a new report for Nesta

by Ed Grover (Senior Communications Officer)

Professor Andy PrattA cultural industries expert from City University London has co-authored a new report on the creative economies in the UK, USA and Canada.

Professor Andy Pratt, Director of the Centre for Culture and the Creative Industries, was part of the team behind a report for the charity Nesta, Creative Economy Employment in the US, Canada and the UK.

The research showed that employment in the UK creative economy grew at 4.7 per cent per annum on average, between 2011 and 2013 – faster than the US (3.1 per cent).

The report also found:

  • The US has the largest creative economy employment of the three countries, employing 14.2 million people in 2013
  • Canada had the largest creative economy employment as a percentage of the workforce, at 12.9 per cent, in 2011.

Nesta, which supports innovation in the UK, called on Professor Pratt to help produce the report because of his experience in developing metrics to measure the creative industries in the UK for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport.

He has also completed comparative work in Japan, as well as globally for the United Nations bodies UNESCO (on cultural employment) and UNCTAD (on cultural trade).

The academic explained the report explored the notion of “creative intensity” – the proportion of a workforce employed in creative jobs. It is the first time a report has shown the position of the UK compared to its competitors for this measure.

From a perspective of innovation and economic growth, the idea is that public investment would be best targeted not at all creative industries, but at those who are most intensively creative .

Professor Andy Pratt

Within the creative industries, the UK’s proportion of those in creative occupations (52.3 per cent) is much higher than in both Canada (37.4 per cent) and the US (27.4 per cent).

Professor Pratt said: “The argument is that the cultural and creative industries employ a range of people with a variety of skills – some of which are common to the rest of the economy and play a supporting role, and some that are creative.

“From a perspective of innovation and economic growth, the idea is that public investment would be best targeted not at all creative industries, but at those who are most intensively creative – that is have more investment in ‘super creative’ occupations.”

The UK creative economy workforce was around 2.5 million in 2013, with an 8.76 per cent share of overall employment in the country. This compares with the 14.2 million people employed in the US that year, with a 9.75 per cent share of the total.

In Canada, the data available did not allow for comparisons in 2012 or 2013, but statistics for 2011 show there were 2.42 million creative economy jobs, with a 12.9 per cent of the total.

Other key findings included:

  • The largest centre of creative economy employment in the US in absolute terms is the New York-Newark-New Jersey area, employing 1.2 million people (12.7 per cent of the workforce) in 2013
  • This is comparable to that of the Greater South East of England – London, the South East and Eastern regions – which employ 1.3 million people in the creative economy (12.3 per cent of the workforce)

Professor Pratt added that measures of productive or innovative intensity had been used in other sectors, but they were harder to develop in the creative economy.

“This type of calculation is made in other hi-tech industries, but due to a variety of data availability issues is not much more difficult to achieve in the cultural industries,” he said. “An initial model was developed by Nesta and was adopted in principle by the Departments of Business, and Department of Culture in the UK. However, the model had only been applied in the UK.

“This current research sought to apply the same model across a number of the UK’s competitors. The reports show the relative position of the UK in relation to ‘creative intensity’, which is a first. The report exposes how difficult such a measure is to construct that would be valid across numerous states and raised some questions about whether the differences we due to institutional or ‘creative’ differences.”

The new Nesta report is the second of a pair that explore the notion of creative intensity in the cultural and creative industries in groups of countries. The first examined employment in the 28 member states of the EU and was published in December 2015.

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