Global Talent Report

October 19, 2017

Britain’s Film, TV and other creative industries are facing a potentially catastrophic loss of talent and skills, a report warns this morning.

The threatened end of freedom of movement has already forced some talent to relocate abroad and others are drawing up plans to follow.

The first-ever analysis of post-Brexit employment across the creative industries concludes that the Government must act quickly to avoid a disastrous skills shortage.  Among the report’s key recommendations is the introduction of a new Creative Freelancer visa for workers from outside the EU. It also calls on the Government to negotiate free movement of UK and EU workers for short-term projects.

The creative industries are worth £87bn to the UK economy and account for 10% of the UK’s services exports. It’s one of Britain’s fastest growing sectors and worth more than the oil and gas, automotive, life sciences and aerospace industries combined.

But today’s report reveals just how much creative companies across the UK rely on immediate access to European workers. One company estimated a 40% drop in revenues if freedom of movement between the UK and EU were to end.

75% of companies surveyed employ (non-UK) EU nationals. Two thirds of those said they could not fill those posts with UK workers.  

The CEO of the Creative Industries Federation, John Kampfner, said “this report shows that the end of freedom of movement poses a huge risk to the creative industries. Losing access to crucial international talent will damage our ability to produce the films, books and television that define Britain around the world. Arts and culture have a huge role to play in forging new relationships with other countries. We need an immigration system that enables our extraordinary sector to continue to grow.”

57% of those surveyed said they’re already facing skills shortages, even with current access to EU workers.

Restrictions on freedom of movement would hit Britain’s creative industries particularly hard because they rely on a high proportion of freelancers (one third of all workers, half of all creative posts). The existing visa system makes it extremely difficult for freelancers to set up in the UK.

Many companies, such as the internationally-renowned production house responsible for the visual effects on Star Wars and Black Mirror, are often asked to take on highly-skilled work at very short notice.

“Without access to the best, most diverse talent base - which is only available internationally - within 24 hours, undoubtedly this business would be lost to regions where access to this broad range of skills is readily available.” Phil Dobree, CEO, Jellyfish Pictures

EU nationals make up very significant proportions of the workforce in key industries, including architecture (25%) and visual effects (30%).

Many of the companies surveyed argued that international creatives also have an impact far beyond simple numbers. They help train British workers and bring an understanding of the foreign markets into which Britain sells its creative services.

Among the specific recommendations in today’s report:

For EU workers:

•    Allowing visa-free travel between the EU and the UK      

•    Securing reciprocal rights for UK workers to move and work freely for short-term projects

•    Providing same-day access to talent

•    Allowing employers to bring in EU workers without meeting the current non-EU minimum salary requirement

•    Maintaining freedom of movement during any period of implementation For non-EU workers:

•    Introducing a ‘Creative Freelancer’ visa              

•    Scrapping the immigration skills charge

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