Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Beyond the Creative Industries - The Digested Read

This is all about counting and about how for all these years we've been doing the counting the wrong way. All that stuff you've heard over the years about how the Creative Industries is the greatest thing slince sliced bread and will ultimately save us all has been based on poor quality counting. Now we plan to tell you the truth about the Creative Industries and you will be shocked and disturbed by what you hear. You ready? Here goes:

Our new, improved and all-round excellent counting has concluded that the original poorly counted figures were largely correct.

No, hang on it's a bit more complicated than that as we've also discovered what creatives earn. And for this one we really do have a bombshell:

In some sectors creatives earn less than the management and admin staff who support them but on the whole you'll earn more by being creative in the Creative Industries than you will working, for example, as the in-house deisgner for KPMG.

Let's tease out the salary thing a little, it's kind of interesting. We've invented a complex new way of counting called the 'Creative Trident Model' for which we've identified three different kinds of creative workers:

  • Embedded - creatives working in non-creative industries
  • Support - those who work in management, administration, legal or accountancy in the creative industries
  • Specialists - the creatives themselves, but only those who work in a creative industries company.
We looked at census data from 1981 through to the Labour Force Survey of 2006. Our fab new counting model even allows us to compare the Creative Industries to the financial sector and to Australia where they have much better ways to count things than we do.

Of course all you really want to know is who earns the most money?
  • Nearly every sector (except for music - you guys earn next to nothing) earn way more than the national average salary.
  • If you're in Software, Computer Games and Electronic Publishing you earn the most (over 80% more than the average salary).
  • A 'support' worker in Film, Television and Photography earns more than the creative specialist.
  • On the whole specialists earn just a bit more than the staff who support them.
  • Creative specialists within a creative company earn a decent amount more than the creatives in the non-creative industries.

It's worth knowing (and gloating about the fact) that on the whole the Creative Industries do turn out to be as substantial as every one says they are. Since 1981 the sector has doubled the amount of support staff but tripled the amount of creatives.

BUT: the rate of growth in the number of jobs has slowed to about 1% a year (whereas the rate for jobs in the ecnomy as a whole is about 1.2%). Worse still, salary growth has slowed to a level below that of other jobs. However, that's largely due to a downturn in the advertising industry dragging the rest down and if you work in Film, TV, Radio or Photograhy you're earnings have been going up 4.7% a year even if the amount of jobs has dropped by 1.5%.

By and large the data for counting the Creative Industries is a bit rubbish. Okay so the half-arsed guesswork that counts for government statistics wasn't far off the mark but really, we've been counting this sector for over 10 years now, a bit more accuracy would be welcomed. Here's a fab new fact that our fab new model found out:

There are more creative roles outside the creative industries than in them yet estimates of the size of the creative economy fail to take this into account.

So if we based our estimates of the Creative Industries on the amount employees earned rather than the Gross Value Added measure that's always been used then:

Instead of being 7.3% of the economy we'd be talking about the Creative Industries as having almost 10% of national earnings - not bad eh?

The digested read, digested: Creatives everywhere - it's time to stand up and be counted


Aeioux said...

Useful and very timely Dave. Thanks for that.

bobbie gardner said...

unless you're a doomed muso- gulp.

Informative read.