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Creative nation: how the creative industries are powering the UK


The creative industries concentrate in a small number of locations: 53 per cent of employment and 44 per cent of businesses are found in the top five locations (the equivalent percentages in other sectors are 32 per cent and 30 per cent respectively).
Overall, creative industries employment has become more concentrated over time, mirroring developments in the wider economy. We detect a similar pattern when we look at the creative industries within UK regions and nations, showing that leading cities attract most of the activity, from Manchester in the North West of England to Bristol in the South West,Cardiff in Wales, and Glasgow and Edinburgh in Scotland.

Although creative businesses are more productive than comparably sized businesses, they will not materially contribute to addressing the UK’s productivity problems unless they scale-up significantly. When we control for size, creative businesses tend to be more productive than companies in other sectors in almost all parts of the country. For example, creative businesses with fewer than ten employees have a Gross Value Added (GVA) per worker of £46,000, 20 per cent higher than similarly sized businesses in other sectors. Ninety-four per cent of the companies in the sector are, however, micro-businesses (10 per cent more than in other sectors), which limits the sector’s ability to lift regional productivity. Growth in the sector will have the biggest economic impact if it is accompanied by an increase in the number of scale-up businesses with higher productivity growth.

Regional rivals should work together to grow their creative industries: Regional creativegrowth appears not to be a zero-sum game, particularly when it comes to business numbers. For example, locations that saw their neighbours become more specialised in IT, software and computer services were almost 80 per cent more likely to become more specialised in that sub-sector too. Local policymakers may need to coordinate their support actions to maximise their impact on the UK’s creative industries.

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About the report

Creative Nation uses official, open and web data to map the creative industries in the UK, their evolution, contribution to local economic development, the strength of their support ecosystems – including research and informal networking – and their connections with each other.

Ultimately, it seeks to contribute to our understanding of the sector and inform the best policies to support it. It has been created by Nesta in collaboration with the Creative Industries Council.

The report presents eight key findings based on our analysis of the data, and is accompanied by an open dataset and interactive visualisation to help anybody explore the data.

Why this report on this blog

I believe that creative businesses are necessary in our modern, innovating world. Using design and design thinking they are able to turn concepts into services that people assists in their jobs to be done.  Their knowledge and insights must be applied to ensure that public service become more customer focused.



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