Business Technology

British government challenged to fix uneven spread of creative jobs in the UK

3 min read

27 January 2015

Former deputy editor

A geographical report from Nesta has found the UK's creative industries are distributed unevenly across the country, with 43 per cent of creative economy jobs in London and the south-east.

The domination of the sector comes alongside the region already accounting for 28 per cent of the national workforce, and Nesta is urging the government to introduce a policy that will provide better support and distribution of creative sectors across the country.

To put this into context, a report from the government’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) on 16 January said that the UK’s “creative nation” contributes £146,000 to the economy each minute.

However, the creative economy is more unevenly distributed than the high-tech economy, which has 31 per cent based in London and the south east, despite large campaigns for Tech City and Silicon Roundabout in the capital. Comparatively, jobs in government, health and education are the most evenly distributed.

Nesta wants the government to deliver targeted support for creative hubs outside of London and the south-east with:

  • A £100m fund using Regional Growth Fund money to target public investment in the fastest growing creative clusters.
  • A £100m demonstrator programme to support the adoption of ultra-high speed broadband in these clusters and where these businesses can capitalise on the benefits.

Indeed, London is the UK’s biggest creative sector, with the space responsible for 15 per cent of jobs in the city. Other UK hotspots highlighted by the findings for creativity include Manchester, Edinburgh, Bristol and Glasgow, while Hampshire, Berkshire and Cambridgeshire account for tech hotspots.

Hasan Bakhshi, Nesta’s director of creative economy, said: “The official statistics point to the stellar growth of the UK’s creative economy. Today’s research confirms that there are significant hotspots of creative employment across the UK.

“However, it also shows that there are strong attractor forces pulling talent to London and the south-east. Public investment has a critical role to play in nurturing creative clusters throughout the country.” 

Nesta’s report counts creative economy industries as the ones employing people in film, TV, music and design, with high-tech industries viewed as IT, science, engineering, technology and maths.

The study found that nationwide there are 2.6m jobs in the creative economy and 3.2m jobs in the high-tech economy, however, the creative economy grew more than twice as fast as the high-tech economy between 2011-2013.

Image via Shutterstock.