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The Fusion Effect: The economic returns to combining arts and science skills

This research explores the fusion of arts and science skills in UK companies and the impact of this combination on performance.

This research explores the fusion of arts and science skills in UK companies and the impact of this combination on performance.

Key findings

The report found that 'fused’ companies, those that combine art and science skills in their workforce:

  • Show 8% higher sales growth than science-only firms.
  • Are 2% more likely to bring radical innovations to market.
  • Employ approximately 3.5 million people - despite accounting for around a tenth of UK companies, they employ roughly a fifth of all workers.

The authors of this report used official data to analyse the contribution of employees’ science and arts skills to the performance of their companies between 2010 and 2012. The research comes at a time when the government is promoting STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) rather than STEAM - with the addition of Arts - in spite of a burgeoning creative economy.

Using official UK data on innovation and firm capability, the report analyses the finances of firms that use arts and science skills. We found compelling evidence to suggest that firms combining these skills are more likely to grow in the future, are more productive, and are more likely to produce radical innovations. Our findings support the hypothesis that the impact of arts skills in the UK economy extends beyond the creative industries.

Authors

Dr Josh Siepel (SPRU, University of Sussex), Dr Roberto Camerani (SPRU, University of Sussex), Dr Gabriele Pellegrino (SPRU, University of Sussex), Dr Monica Masucci (Dept of Business and Management, University of Sussex)