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Creativity and the future of work

This paper, published in partnership with the Creative Industries Federation, looks at the skills students will need to succeed in their careers.

Those who started secondary school this year will graduate in 2024. This paper, published in partnership with the Creative Industries Federation, asks what skills those students will need to succeed in their careers.

It argues that our future economy will be built on creativity and technology. With artificial intelligence taking over routine tasks, there will be immense opportunities for people who combine creative, technical and social skills - skills that are resilient to future automation.

In the paper we show that UK labour market projections predict that the rate of growth for both creative and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) occupations will be more than double the average job growth across the whole UK economy.

We also provide the UK government with recommendations to tackle these challenges, including supporting an industry-led careers initiative, making its technical education scheme fit for purpose and limiting Ofsted ‘Outstanding’ ratings to those schools that prepare students for the future.

Key findings

  • UK labour market projections show that the rate of growth for both creative and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) occupations will be more than double the average job growth across the whole UK economy.
  • Forecasts suggest that creative occupations will grow by 5.3 per cent over the next six years. That is double the projected job growth across the UK economy and an additional 119,495 creative jobs by 2024.
  • Interpersonal, cognitive and systems skills are likely to be in particular high demand.

Policy recommendations

  • Government should back an industry-led Creative Careers initiative, to include: a Creative Careers Campaign to showcase the richness and diversity of creative careers; opportunities to increase the interaction between creative businesses and young people; and materials for teachers, pupils, parents and carers to disseminate through schools and make available online.​
  • Government should ensure that its technical education and apprenticeship schemes are fit for purpose: the Apprenticeship Levy and forthcoming T levels must be shaped to meet current skills needs and prepare for future demand. Government must ensure that such schemes are tailored to the training needs of creative freelancers and small creative businesses.
  • Ofsted should limit ‘outstanding’ to schools that warrant it: a school must teach creative subjects to be eligible for an ‘outstanding’ rating. The Government’s upcoming Curriculum Fund should be resourced to help the delivery of high-quality materials for creative and technical subjects.

Authors

Hasan Bakhshi and Luise Yang. Edited by Eliza Easton and Caroline Julian.

Authors

Eliza Easton

Eliza Easton

Eliza Easton

Head of Policy Unit, Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre (PEC)

Eliza works with economists and data scientists to analyse and develop policies for the creative economy, and then with policy-makers to see them enacted.

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Hasan Bakhshi

Hasan Bakhshi

Hasan Bakhshi

Centre Director, Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre (PEC); and Executive Director, Creative Economy and Data Analytics, Nesta

Hasan oversees Nesta's creative economy policy, research and practical work.

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