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Creative economy employment in the EU and UK: A comparative analysis

This report compares the size and growth of the EU’s creative industries on a consistent basis.

This report compares the size and growth of the EU’s creative industries on a consistent basis.

Key Findings:

  • The creative industries employ 11.4 million people in the EU, accounting for 5 per cent of the EU workforce.
  • Sweden has the highest proportion of its workforce employed in the creative industries (8.9 per cent), followed by Finland (8.2 per cent) and the UK (7.6 per cent).
  • The country with the highest number of creative industry workers is Germany (which has the largest total workforce in the EU), followed by the UK and France.
  • The UK accounts for 14 per cent of the total EU workforce, but a fifth (21 per cent) of all creative industry jobs.
  • Employment in the UK’s creative industries grew three times faster in the UK than in the EU as a whole: 6.1% per annum on average vs. 1.8% per annum.

Analysts and policymakers have long complained about the absence of internationally comparable statistics on the creative industries, as this has made it impossible to benchmark the performance of different countries.

This report provides consistent statistics on the EU creative industries for all of the member states. It also provides consistent statistics for the creative economies (employment in creative industries and in creative occupations outside of these) for 20 of the member states. Six countries are examined in detail (France, Germany, Netherlands, Poland and Sweden, and the UK).

The report applies the official UK creative industry classification to produce a best-fit creative industries definition in the EU Labour Force Survey, to calculate consistent estimates at an EU level.

A companion report which examines the creative economy in North America (the US and Canada) will be published in the New Year.

Policy Recommendations:

  • The report highlights the importance of supporting the creative industries in the EU, and assists policymakers by providing an overview of employment across EU countries.
  • The Dynamic Mapping methodology provides a basis for making international assessments of the creative industries.


Max Nathan, Andy Pratt and Ana Rincon-Aznar