Reactions to the labour market statistics

 17 October 2014

Figures released this week show that unemployment is decreasing.

People in the industries are creative, tenacious and enterprising individuals who can make new business ideas work.
People in the industries are creative, tenacious and enterprising individuals who can make new business ideas work.

More people are employed but the Government’s predictions that revenue from the associated income tax would plug the deficit are not coming to pass. This is because new jobs are increasingly low paid, or self-employed.

According to the Office for National Statistics, self-employment is at a forty-year high with 4.6 million people in this country now self-employed.

Lessons from the creative industries

This is not a new scenario for the creative industries. People gravitate to our sector because they are passionate about what they do, not because they are motivated by high salaries.

They are also creative, tenacious and enterprising individuals who can make new business ideas work.

The number of people who are self-employed and paying no income tax has risen from 20 per cent before 2008 to 35 per cent now.

But we have been hearing that it is hard to get new businesses going and sustaining them so I’m not surprised to hear that since 2008-09 the average income from self-employment has fallen by 22 per cent because we’re hearing that too.

Driving the economic recovery

It has been obvious for some time that the creative industries are leading the march to create employment in the country. We need to be celebrating the fact that young people who start up businesses are a success story for their colleges and universities.

We also need to support them to grow.

It is a fantastic thing that people are moving from unemployment into self-employment and that the unemployment position is improving but it is time to think about serious support for these start-ups so that they can grow into mature businesses which are genuinely contributing to the UK economy.

The rest of the workforce appears to be emulating what has been happening in the creative industries for the last couple of decades. Perhaps this will encourage policy makers and investors to come up with ways to support these embryo businesses and help them to get the business skills and start-up funding they need.

‘making a job’ is as important as ‘getting a job’

And importantly we also need to ensure that the careers advice we’re giving to young people in schools and colleges reflects the new reality: that ‘making a job’ is as important as ‘getting a job’ and that recruits need to hone their creative and business skills.

Have your say on the challenges facing the creative industries at our Annual Conference - Building a Creative Nation: The Next Decade on 5th March 2015 – book now and receive 50% discount.   


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