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Creativity and the future of skills

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At a time when all jobs, whether in a coffee shop or a bank, can seemingly be described as creative, you’d be forgiven for thinking the word had lost all meaning in the labour market.

However, this first piece of PEC research, written in partnership with Nesta, shows that ‘creativity’ can still tell us important things about those jobs that ask for it.

Headline findings include:

1. Creativity is likely to be even more important in the future job market.

Although it may seem ubiquitous, far from every job advert requests ‘creativity’ as a requirement. In fact, job adverts for Creative Occupations in the DCMS’s official list are still far more likely to ask for it. Strikingly, jobs asking for creativity are also far more likely to grow as a percentage of the workforce by the year 2030. This reinforces the finding from previous research that policymakers should be investing in the workforce’s creative skills.

2. Employers don’t just value creativity alone: they need talent with project management and organisational skills too.

Our analysis suggests that strong project management and organisational skills when combined with creativity will be a particularly potent mix in the future. This should be a key takeaway for anyone involved in training or education policy.

3. Creative occupations don’t have a monopoly on creativity.

Creativity is not confined to the list of creative occupations compiled by the DCMS. Education and skills policymakers, should look beyond sectoral boundaries when formulating policies to invest in the workforce’s creativity.

Jobs for which employers request creativity at a similar rate as those in the DCMS list include: Florists, Print finishing and binding workers, Bakers and flour confectioners, Chefs, Hairdressers and barbers.

We also find jobs that have a lot in common with Creative Occupations due to the technical skills required. Examples of these jobs include engineers, manufacturing and business development roles. This is something for the Department for Education and other skills leads to consider when developing reskilling policies.

Published 13th November 2018 

Please reference this paper as:

Easton E. and Djumalieva. J (2019) Creativity and the future of skills. London: Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre and Nesta. Available from:

This research report is published by the Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre (PEC). All PEC research reports have been peer reviewed prior to publication. In keeping with normal academic practice, responsibility for the views expressed in this research, and the interpretation of any evidence presented, lies with the authors. These views and interpretations do not necessarily represent those of the PEC or its partner organisations

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