What does the cultural workforce look like in 2019?

Recently the Creative & Cultural Skills Council released a report on their latest Workforce Data research.  There’s lots to play with and explore, but here’s a few interesting points….

What does the cultural workforce look like in 2019?

To start with the research as a whole:

  • There are approximately 1.18 million people working in the cultural industries across England, Scotland and Wales. 
  • 38% of these workers are self-employed.
  • Across the creative industry sectors, the largest is Literature, with 31% of the creative workforce working in this sector.
  • 88% of UK creative workforce is white. 
  • 13% of the UK creative workforce identifies as having a disability. 
  • There are approximately 135,574 creative and cultural businesses in the UK and approximately 112,000 (83%) of these are small with less than 5 employees - and 37% of of cultural businesses are in London with only 1.6% in the North East.
  • The average hourly wage in the cultural sector is £16.29 an hour. Which is better than the whole UK working population average of £14.77.

A note on who’s included: Those working in sectors including design, craft, performing arts, music, literature, cultural heritage, and the visual arts. 

501d72064c628b1d4606f5f6d399c4db89f07d37.pngWhilst the literature sector is the largest, how do the others stack up?  Music is a surprisingly small sector in the UK with the research showing less than 49,000 individuals working in the art form.  Although this could be buoyed by the 250,000 individuals working in the wider performing arts.

What about for young professionals and young people- what does this mean?

Ofcourse there is the diversity challenge.  With an overwhelmingly white workforce, concentrated in London, some may have to work harder than other parts of the population.  This is in part down to ‘unconscious bias’ where parents and family members haven’t participated in the creative industries themselves and may struggle to provide support or encouragement for their children to access the industry themselves; either in a participative project or as a career opportunity. As was discussed at length at the 2019 Creative & Cultural Skills annual conference, attitudes need to change and this bias needs to be challenged.  It’s where the Creative Careers Programme is aiming to help.

So, some relevant data focussed on us young professionals that are good to know:

  • The creative industries is a highly qualified industry; with 56% of workers having a degree or higher, compared to just 53% of the general population.  
  • This figure of degree earners rises to 68% of those in specifically creative occupations (ie. not including those in support/administrative/management roles within the sector).
  • But don’t let that put you off.  13% of the creative industry only have GCSE’s, and 16% have A Levels or equivalent.  All in all there are still many jobs for those not pursuing degrees.
  • Just 10% of those working in the creative industries are aged 16-24, lower than the 12% UK average.  However this rises to 15% of 25-29 year olds, which is higher than the 12% UK average.  
  • But it’s worth noting that if you live in the Yorkshire & Humber region a whopping 16% of the Creative Industries are made up of 16-24 year olds.  So a good place to be perhaps :)

Want to explore the data further? Take a look at https://ccskills.org.uk/supporters/advice-research/article/workforce-analysis-2018 and here's the qualifications & age graphs to give more detail too.

Highest Level of Qualifications in the sector

Qualifications of the sector graphs

Age demographic of the sector

Age of the sector graph

Header Image Credit: Screenshot from CCSkills Report


Emrys Green

Emrys Green Voice Team

Emrys is the Business & Projects manager at Upstart who runs Voice.

Alongside managing Voice and its related programmes of work Emrys manages web builds and live events through his own pursuits - with a wide encapsulation of the arts sector. Theatre, Dance, Circus, Spoken Word and a combination of contemporary and shakespearean work would all be in his wheelhouse.

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