Jobs boom for UK creative industries


The UK’s creative industries have cemented their position as a powerhouse for growth, with employment in the sector growing at four times the rate of the UK workforce as whole, according to latest official statistics from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), which suggest that those industries now employ almost two million people, up five per cent on the previous year, compared to the wider UK workforce which grew by 1.2 per cent,

In addition to the overall employment boom for the sector, the creative industries are also leading the way in addressing concerns about the lack of diversity in the workplace. The number of people from BAME backgrounds in the creative industries has increased by 15 per cent since 2015, an improvement more than 2 and half times that of the wider UK workforce. In the film and TV sectors alone, BAME representation has jumped by 40 per cent, and in the design and fashion sector numbers up by almost 50 per cent.

“These positive jobs figures show Britain’s creative industries are performing better than ever,” noted Creative Industries Minister Matt Hancock. “Those working in the creative industries are cultural ambassadors for Britain, and play a hugely important role in helping form and shape the way we are viewed both at home and abroad. This strong, sustained growth of the creative industries is fantastic to see, and we are working with industry to make sure this continues.”

“And whilst there’s still more to do before diversity in the creative industries mirrors that of our society as a whole, I’m encouraged to see that this area is improving at more than twice the rate of the wider workplace.”

Whilst London remains a hub for the creative industries, the latest figures also demonstrate impressive growth in different geographical regions around the UK, including:


  • Growth of Yorkshire & Humber’s film and TV industries has outstripped that of every other part of the UK, increasing by 40 per cent in the last year.
  • In the North West, advertising and marketing continues to grow rapidly, experiencing over a 20 per cent increase. Centres such as Manchester and MediaCity in Salford are proving globally competitive in this sub-sector.
  • The Midlands continued to expand as a centre for design and designer fashion, experiencing a 66 per cent increase in employment in the West Midlands and a 54 per cent increase in the East Midlands. The region is home to a number of global fashion brands and world leading fashion and design higher education courses.

There has also been strong employment growth nationally in other DCMS sectors. The number of jobs in the sport sector have increased by 4.2 per cent year-on-year and up 19.2 per cent since 2011. The digital sector has enjoyed significant job creation – up 2.4 per cent year-on-year and 12.6 per cent since 2011 while the number of jobs in the cultural sector have increased by 1.8 per cent year on year and 20 per cent since 2011.

And in further proof that Britain is well and truly open for business, export statistics for DCMS sectors show continued growth and a growing appetite for UK goods and services.

The latest figures show that in 2015 DCMS sectors exported £38.2 billion worth of services to the rest of the world – up 1.4 per cent from the year before and a 42.4 per cent rise on 2010. Exports of services from DCMS sectors in 2015 accounted for 16.9 per cent of total UK service exports.

DCMS sectors exported £27.3 billion worth of goods to the rest of the world in 2015 – up 9 per cent on the year before – growth that was greater than the rest of the UK as a whole. Exports of goods from DCMS sectors in 2015 accounted for 9.6 per cent of total UK goods exports.

The UK Government confirms that it is working hard to make sure this upward trend continues, and will pursue a deep and special partnership with the EU, including a bold and ambitious Free Trade Agreement that is of greater scope and ambition than any such existing agreement.

The Government wants the UK to have the greatest possible tariff- and barrier-free trade with its European neighbours and also to be able to negotiate its own trade agreements. “As we leave the EU, we will have the opportunity to forge an independent trading framework and pursue our own priorities and ambitions,” it says, adding that it will introduce a Trade Bill to ensure the UK has the tools to act as a credible player on the world stage, and enhance the UK’s leading role as a global trading nation negotiating and enforcing a rules-based trading system, and driving positive change through trade.


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