OECD: Culture and creative sectors bring significant economic and social benefits

The cultural and creative sectors (CCS) bring numerous social and economic benefits. Cultural and creative sectors are very diverse, and their business and operating structures vary significantly. These sectors are important for the economic footprint they generate and employment but also because of the many social benefits they bring to people and places.

Cultural and creative sectors are significant economic drivers with strong growth potential
In terms of employment and economic footprint, the cultural and creative sectors (CCS) play a significant role. Across OECD countries, they accounted for an average of 7% of all enterprises and 2.2% of total business GVA in 2018. In some OECD countries, up to 1 in 20 jobs are related to culture and creativity, and 1 in 10 jobs are related to major cities and capital regions. A staggering 40% of cultural and creative employment occurs outside of CCS, for example, industrial designers in the automotive industry, highlighting the importance of creative skills.

CSS contribute to innovation in the economy
Through new products, services, and content, new business models, and co-production channels, CCS innovates and supports innovation in other sectors. In official statistics, which are designed to measure innovation in more traditional sectors such as manufacturing, these types of innovations are not well captured.

Diversity of CSS requires special policies
CCS includes libraries, cultural centers, film production companies, festivals, museums, streaming services, theaters, architects, designers, and artists. Despite this, the cost structures and business models of for-profit and not-for-profit organizations vary significantly. It is often difficult to access bank credit for creative businesses without tangible collateral. Workers in these sectors have higher levels of skill on average, however, they are more likely to hold multiple jobs combining salaried employment and project work (on average twice the rate of the general labor force). Many jobs in the CCS are precarious because of contract instability, income fluctuations, and limited access to social protection.

CCS industry among the most severely impacted by the Covid-19 crisis
Social distancing measures have had a negative impact on venue-based activities (e.g. theatre, cinema, museums, etc.) both directly and indirectly. Video games and streaming services, however, did much better than businesses without strong digital content. During times of economic crisis, creative professionals often transition to non-creative careers to escape the lingering effects of the pandemic. Some sectors are recovering quickly (e.g. music) while others (e.g. festivals and museums) will need more time to fully return to pre-crisis levels.

Digitalisation is changing the way we interact with CSS
New technologies have the capacity to support the cross-overs with other sectors such as health and education, leading to new opportunities. By addressing disparities in digital tools, the sectors can capitalize on their full potential. 

Cultural engagement supports the supply and demand for CSS services
Household spending on cultural and creative services is high, representing an 18% growth between 2011-2019. Participation in such activities is linked to numerous social and economic benefits.

Cultural-led strategies can transform places
Apart from providing direct economic and social benefits, CSS sectors also contribute to “place-making”, by making cities and regions more lucrative for job-seekers and visitors, thereby attracting talent.

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