New report confirms growth in local creative workforce

Recent work by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has found a national and regional growth in the level of creative industries employment between 2006 – 2008. According to data sourced from the Inter-Departmental Business Register (IDBR), employment in creative firms across England increased by 11% (compared to a 2% average growth in employment for all sectors). The level of creative industry employment growth in the West Midlands region (+19%) was relatively high compared to other regions and, in line with national trends, was more marked than the average increase for all sectors within the region.  

These findings confirm trends reported last year in our Culture & Prosperity: the economic role of culture in the West Midlands. Although the methodology and timeframe differed slightly across the two papers, the conclusion is the same: a regional growth in creative industry employment compared to the national creative industry average and compared to the average for all regional firms.

Unfortunately, as the author of the paper points out, there are continued issues around getting hold of more recent creative industries data. Both mainstream definitions of the creative sectors (DCMS evidence toolkit & Frontier Economics) use 2003 Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) codes – rather than the newer 2007 codes.

From 2009, the data for the IDBR has been collected based on the current SIC 2007 codes, something which poses problems for cultural researchers in that the process of converting 2003 codes to 2007 codes leads to data that is not exactly comparable with pre-2009 data. This situation could be seen as problematic during the aftermath of a recession when a clear picture of the economic situation is particularly helpful.

Download the report and accompanying dataset

Notes: The ‘official’ definition of the creative industries sectors used by the Department for Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) remains that documented in the DCMS Evidence Toolkit. The Frontier Economics definition, although widely known, remains experiential at this time. 

Photo by Dean Terry

Tweets, whistles and gold: an overview of the Cultural Research Conference 2010

The first Cultural Research & Intelligence Network (CRAIN) conference took place on 2nd June 2010 at Birmingham City University (School of Art) in central Birmingham.

The conference was well attended, attracting 41 delegates who between them represented 26 different organisations (including five local authorities and four local universities).

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Skillset launch Creative Media Workforce Survey 2010

Reception area at Codemasters in Warwickshire

Skillset, the sector skills council for the creative industries, have launched the national Creative Media Workforce Survey 2010:

Whether you are an employer, an employee or a freelancer, what you tell us about your skills needs, experience of training and recruitment, future plans and working patterns will help us produce the most comprehensive profile of working life in the UK’s Creative Media Industries.

D’log highlights why this survey is especially important this year.

For more details about the survey, visit www.skillset.org/playyourpart.

Cultural sector recession survey – can you help?

The West Midlands cultural sector recession survey for the October–December 2009 quarter is now live.

If you work in the region’s cultural sector we’d appreciate your help in getting the word out.

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Research suggests mounting problems for gaming firms

NESTA’s recent report It’s Time to Play suggests the UK video games sector faces ‘serious and mounting problems’ as a result of a variety of factors including the emerging trend for experienced staff to leave the UK in favour of competitor countries where government support is strong.

The report, based on a survey of 30 leading British video games developers, suggests widespread support among respondents for introduction of tax credit for cultural games.

Research in this field carries a particular relevance to the West Midlands which is host to 19% of the UK’s gaming workforce (Burns Owens Partnership, 2007) and a cluster of high profile game developers including Codemasters, Blitz, Freestyle Games and the Serious Games Institute.

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Cultural sector recession survey – can you help?

The West Midlands cultural sector recession survey for the July–September 2009 quarter is now live.

If you work in the region’s cultural sector we’d appreciate your help in getting the word out.

It’d be great if you could encourage any cultural venues and organisations based in the region that you are in contact with to complete the survey.

  • Surveys can be completed online
  • or  completed in Word (doc, 31kb)

Please return completed surveys to Lauren (lauren.amery@wmro.org) by Friday 16th October (thank you).

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How is the West Midlands cultural sector performing during the recession?

Ironbridge with views of Telford townEconomic research launched in March 2009 by the West Midlands Cultural Observatory has helped to shed light on how the region’s cultural and creative sector is performing during the current economic downturn — an area which has not been the subject of sustained research in the past.

The economic snapshot paper (Word, 306KB) includes the results of a small scale survey which explores how levels of visitors and revenue have been affected in cultural venues such as museums, arts centres and visitor attractions.

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New research on the impact of culture in the West Midlands

Culture and prosperity report coverNew research produced by the West Midlands Cultural Observatory has boosted understanding of the social and economic role that culture has played in the West Midlands over recent years.

Long term economic trends suggest that the sector is expanding, employing more people and increasing its GVA and turnover output year-on-year.

For example, the Culture & Prosperity (PDF, 1.2MB) paper describes how the region’s creative industries had a 36% increase in turnover between 2004 and 2007: a level which exceeded the national average increase in turnover for creative industries (+13%) and the average growth in turnover within the whole West Midlands economy (+19%) over the same period.

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Creative industries economic estimates

Gathering at the New Art Gallery WalsallThe annual creative industries economic estimates are now available from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

Statistics are provided on:

  • Gross value added of the creative industries
  • Exports of services for the creative industries
  • Creative employment
  • Numbers of businesses within the creative industries in the UK

The figures are for 2006/2007, the latest available period.

Dave Harte has usefully pulled out the highlights from the figures.

Strategic leadership in a creative economy

Creative Clusters is an independent policy conference in Glasgow (17-20 November 2008) that will examine the growth of the creative economy.

This seems like a timely event to bring together those working – not just within the creative industries – but also in initiatives to encourage creativity as a driver for businesses.

One such initiative in Birmingham is Creative Republic, who hosted a discussion on how Birmingham’s creative industries can have a role in the Big City Plan.

One of the themes at the Creative Clusters conference is strategic leadership in the creative economy, asking “in a sector built equally upon input from business, culture and technology, who provides policy leadership?”

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Creative industries research from NESTA

Two research reports investigating the UK’s creative industries have recently been published by NESTA, the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts:

Hidden Innovation in the Creative Industries, published in July 2008, looks at the level and nature of innovation within the creative industries and identifies areas of ‘hidden innovation’ – areas of innovation that are poorly represented in statistics. For example, the report cites examples of innovation in research and development activity and in organisational forms. The report concludes that creative industries, and the types of innovation they undertake, remain ‘under-represented in statistics and conceptual analyses’. Continue reading

Creative and media sector skills review

Earlier this year, the Learning & Skills Council undertook a review of skills supply and demand for the creative and media sector in the West Midlands.

Amongst other interesting findings, the review found that employers perceive graduates to lack market-based experience and ‘job readiness’, suggesting that the education sector is struggling to link skills development with economic development to a sufficient degree.

An issue for learners and employers alike also exists due to the ‘oversupply of a myriad of courses’ which results in unclear progression routes for learners and confusion of the ‘value’ of different qualifications for both learners and employers.

The review highlights the opportunities that could potentially be provided to the sector through apprenticeships. Continue reading