The creative industries are the fastest growing part of the UK economy. They are defined by the UK government as “those industries which have their origin in individual creativity, skill and talent and which have a potential for wealth and job creation through the generation and exploitation of intellectual property”.

There are 12 sub sectors within the creative industries:

The Creative Industries

While animation, VFX (visual effects), video games and heritage are not explicitly mentioned in the government's definition, the Federation embraces these sub-sectors in its work.

The creative economy is a wider description that includes creative occupations outside the sector, such as designers in the automotive sector or architects in the construction sector.

Economic contribution

In 2017, the sector contributed £101.5bn gross value added (GVA). 


Since 2010, the GVA of the creative industries has increased by a massive 53.1%. The sector now generates 5.5% of the UK economy.

Jobs, Businesses and People

There are more than 2 million (2,040,000) jobs in the creative industries. Creative jobs have increased by 30.6% since 2011.

The creative economy accounts for 1 in 10 jobs across the UK and employ 700,000 more people than the financial services. In 2018, over 3.2 million (3,202,000) people worked in the creative economy.

Creative jobs are future-proof jobs: 87% of creative jobs are at low or no risk of automation.

There are more than 289,000 businesses in the creative industries, Creative industries businesses account for 11.9% of all businesses in the UK.

Almost 95% (94.8%) of creative industries businesses are micro businesses (less than 10 employees).

56.9% of creative industries businesses have a turnover of less than £100,000, which is higher than the 50.5% for UK businesses a whole.

Of the creative workers in the sector, 33% are self-employed, compared with 16% across the workforce as whole. Freelancers make up a significant portion of self-employed workers in the creative industries.

Regional Growth

Creative industries are economic powerhouses in every region of the UK.

Creative Industries GVA in 2017


Between 2010 to 2017, creative industries have grown in every region of the UK. 

Creative Industries regional growth from 2010-2017


Skills and Education

UK labour market projections show that the rate of growth for both creative and STEM occupations will be more than double the average job growth across the whole UK economy between now and 2024.

However, The UK’s education and skills system is predicated on employment models of the past rather than the workforce of the future. Access to creative and technical learning is in jeopardy:

  • In 2017, entries for GCSEs in creative subjects fell by 47,000. Entry to GCSE Design and Technology fell by 18,800, accounting for 40% of the overall drop.

  • Current entry rates to creative subjects at Key Stage 4 have fallen to the lowest in a decade

Analysis by Arts Professional showed the decline was in contrast with increases in some other GCSE subjects, notably those included in the English Baccalaureate (EBacc) – the suite of subjects on which the government judges school performance. The EBacc does not include any arts subjects.


The number of people from BAME backgrounds in the creative industries increased by 14.9% between 2015 and 2016, an improvement two and a half times greater than that of the UK workforce.

BAME employees now make up 12.6% of the creative industries workforce.

Representation improved by 40% in film and television and almost 50% in design and fashion. However, as more creative businesses are in cities, which have more diverse populations, the proportions should be higher than for the workforce as a whole.

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