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The 2023 Creative Industries Census - Preliminary Findings

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Our preliminary findings have been compiled using data collected from direct responses to our 2023 Creative Industries Census, of which 3266 professionals completed over a 6-week period. With over 70,000+ data points, this year’s Census aims to answer the question—what are the creative industries doing?It is the industry’s most comprehensive survey on careers, salaries, and workplace trends in the creative industries.

Diversity representation from our survey respondents: 

  • Gender: 63% female vs 35% male, 1% non-binary and 1% preferring not to say, same as 2021

  • Age: 11.4% are aged 45+, decrease of 0.6%

  • Ethnicity: Black, Asian, and/or Minority Ethnic representation is 15.6%, a decrease of 0.2%

  • Sexuality & Identity: 17.6% identified as being LGBTQIA+, an increase of 3.6%

  • Disability & Neurodivergence: 22% identified with having a disability, mental health condition and/or neurodivergence – no data was collected in 2021 


Careers in the creative industry – What’s the outlook?

Despite ongoing economic turbulence, the UK Creative Industries continue to play a significant role in leading the UK’s recovery. Positively, over 66% of businesses are still looking to hire, which is emblematic of the resilience and perseverance of the UK Creative Industries and is at odds with the doom and gloom narrative within the media.

Our Census shows that almost half (45%) of respondents are open to moving roles within the next 6 months, with the majority citing higher salary / day rate (78% - increased 16% YoY), career progression (63% - increased 16% YoY) and culture (39% - down 15%) as their top motivations for doing so. These findings indicate that top talent is available for businesses who are able to offer career progression with competitive remuneration to match.

How much is a creative skill set worth?

Data from the census shows that salaries in the industry grew by 6% for permanent staff and 3% for freelancers, with 87% of workers earning less than £80k pa, most are feeling the pressure of increased living costs.Whilst inflation has decelerated in recent weeks, this is still 4 times the expected rate. 

How much do freelancers make?

According to the Office for National Statistics, the salary increase for perm roles is generally in line with the current average wage growth, as reflected by the January 2023 CPIH figures, However, day rates for freelancers have not kept up. For both perm and freelance roles to keep up with current inflation, salaries and day rates would need nearer 9% increases. This coupled with the fact that only 28% of respondents reported their company had put in place cost-of-living provisions, means that many have lower living standards than years previous.

The quest for flexible working jobs

Interestingly, over half of respondents work hybrid with fixed hours (51%), however, only 18% prefer this workplace policy. Most workers highlighted that they wanted to work a hybrid model but with flexible hours (61%), which is also echoed with 98% saying flexibility is one of their most important factors when considering new roles. In addition, holiday allowance, pension and a good work life balance are other key considerations.

These findings present just a small snapshot of some of the data analysed from our 2023 Census, but despite the tumultuous economic climate, the UK Creative Industries are poised for a bright 2023. With businesses still hiring, candidates have an opportunity to find roles that offer attractive remuneration packages, as well as the flexibility they desire.

Donwload a copy of the 2023 Census

Complete the form below to download your free copy of the 2023 Census.