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Number of job vacancies in the creative industries and culture sector left unfilled because applicants do not have the right skills, qualifications or experience is rising.



The proportion of job vacancies in the creative industries and cultural sector caused by skill shortages is increasing, according to figures recently released by DCMS.

Published earlier this month, DCMS Sector Skills Shortages and Skills Gaps data from 2022 shows 33% of job vacancies in the creative industries and 30% of job vacancies in the cultural sector are down to skills shortages. These figures are up from 22.6% in the creative industries and 11.9% in the cultural sector in 2019.

The figures come from the Department for Education's Employer Skills Survey, which gathers information on the skills that employers need, the skills they are short of and the training they offer, through telephone interviews with randomly selected organisations. Respondents are asked if they have been unable to fill job roles due to applicants not having the right skills, qualifications or experience.


Despite the increases, figures from both the creative industries and cultural sector remain below DCMS-wide and UK-wide averages.

Across all DCMS Sectors, which also includes civil society, gambling, sport and tourism, the percentage of job vacancies relating to skill shortages stood at 33.4% in 2022, up from 21.4% in 2019. Across all UK job sectors, it stood at 35.5% in 2022, up from 24.4% in 2019. 

Between 2019 and 2022, an increase in the number of job vacancies due to skill shortages was witnessed in all subcategories of both the creative industries and cultural sector.

Operation of historical sites and similar visitor attractions saw the highest increase, with 40.8% jobs roles unable to be filled due to skills shortages in 2022.

Film, TV and music saw an increase of 17.9 percentage points in the number of job roles not filled due to skills shortages, while music, performing and visual arts saw a 17.4 percentage point increase.

Publication of the statistics coincides with the closure of Creative and Cultural Skills - the sector skills council for the UK's creative and cultural industries.

Initially financed by central government, it went on to become a Sector Support Organisation within Arts Council England's National Portfolio and received £480,000 a year for the 2018-23 period. 

But a failure to secure core funding from ACE for the 2023-26 period contributed to the decision that it would wind down.

DCMS’ definition of the creative industries includes advertising and marketing, architecture, crafts, design and designer fashion, film, TV, video, radio and photography, IT, software and computer services, publishing museums, galleries and libraries and music, performing and visual arts.

Its definition of the cultural sector includes arts, film, TV and music, radio, photography, crafts, museums and galleries, library and archives, cultural education and operation of historical sites and similar visitor attractions.

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The more important question before taking an increasing ‘skills shortage’ at face value is why?… It may not simply be lack of people taking up training by choice, it will be in part the devaluing of education in these sectors by government educational policy causing courses to shut down reducing availability and accessibility… it is also likely to be that a high proportion in these sectors are freelance and/or underpaid and therefore unable to spend enough time and money on their own CPD. Many have left the industry since covid (a final straw in an increasingly precarious working environment, not a single cause) seeking more financial security in other work. It’s important to consider that a focus on fair remuneration in these sectors might improve retention of experienced and valuable workers as they are paid what they are worth. If only the under qualified are applying that should be an alarm bell as to where those with experience go/have gone as they get older and seek more security, as well as the availability of appropriate training pre work and ongoing. Pay creatives fairly, with conditions and support equal for freelancers and employees, and the industry will be seen as worth training for by all, helping it to thrive. Not a dissimilar problem to that experienced by the health sector at the moment, and education… Common denominator? Sectors where the value is in the time spent between worker and ‘customer’ not in industrial production where consumerist profit is the end goal! Look to a more socially astute and just government to run the country if we want to see changes in these sectors that will ensure their sustainability…