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A skills monitor for the Creative Industries

image architect drawing on scroll of planning - courtesy of Daniel McCullough

Workplace perspectives: skill needs, mismatches and development in the Creative Industries

This Creative Skills Monitor (2019/20), written by the PEC’s researchers at Work Advance, forms the first in a series of strategic skills reviews. It responds to stakeholders’ calls for a regular, over-arching assessment of the skills required and supplied in the creative industries and the creative economy. Its aim is to better signal, influence and respond to changes in the creative workforce, and ways of working, to optimise the contribution that people can make to the future success of the sector.

It has provided insights around the broad composition of the creative industries, and variations in the shape of employment and skills needs between sectors. It has also considered engagement in different aspects of skills, education and workforce development. The intention has been to enable a strategic approach to anticipating, tracking and responding to evolving skills requirements across the creative economy. The core objectives are not only to support the identification of common issues of concern, but where there are issues distinct to particular sub-sectors, and where challenges are of greater concern compared to the economy as a whole.

This first report focuses primarily on the activities of employers in the sector as a basis to understand the steps creative businesses themselves can take to support talent development and better utilise and enhance the skills of their workforce. It has drawn on the most up-to-date evidence from the UK’s national labour market surveys, alongside wider research. Given that the Monitor has assessed core labour market evidence just prior to the COVID-19 lockdown, it plays a vital role developing a baseline across the creative workforce against which future developments can be tracked. 

The research usefully highlights the deep-rooted skills challenges facing the creative economy, and what action employers were already undertaking to resolve them, in terms for instance of modifying their recruitment, training and broader working practices. Whilst the COVID-19 crisis has clearly had dramatic effects, and intensified these challenges, the analysis nevertheless provides a useful starting point to shaping future priorities and what is done next. In particular, the PEC is interested in supporting those common areas of concern, where there may be benefits in industry, government, academia and wider experts working together to pool resources, and share expertise and learning, and, by so doing, securing improvements that drive a strong post-COVID recovery. 

Future action will need to cover issues such as how to: improve management and working practices in a way that enhances business success through people; embrace changes around the future of work; enhance the pipeline of talent to the sector, strengthening progression opportunities for learners, through school, further education and university to better meet industry needs; grow opportunities for continuing professional development and lifelong learning; incentivise and enable greater employer engagement in training; and cement the value of creative education.

Giles, L., Spilsbury, M. and Carey, H. (2020) A skills monitor for the Creative Industries. Multiple: Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre and Work Advance. Available from: 

Published 27th July 2020

Photo by Daniel McCullough

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