United Kingdom – Exclusion based on the ruling class in the creative industries, including architecture
October 11, 2021
According to a report by the Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Center, creative jobs are among the most elite in the UK economy, with architectural roles being one of the most privileged professions.
The report calls on the creative industries to focus more on socio-economic diversity and on how government, industry and educators can work together to build a more socially inclusive creative economy.
The Center cited data from the Office for National Statistics Labor Force Survey which found that in 2020, 52% of the creative industries workforce came from high socioeconomic backgrounds, compared to 38% in all industries.
People from the working class were “significantly under-represented” in the creative industries. In 2020, just over one in four positions (26%) in the sector were held by people from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds.
According to the study, if the creative industries were as socio-economically diverse as the rest of the economy, there would be over 250,000 additional working-class people employed in the sector.
Meanwhile, creative professions such as architects; journalists and editors; the musicians; artists; and producers and directors were as dominated by the privileged as doctors, dentists, lawyers and judges. They have proven to be more elite than management consultants and stock brokers.
Among the 25 most elitist professions, architecture comes first with 73% of jobs dominated by employed people considered “privileged”.
Between 2014 and 2020, the number of people working in the creative sector increased by more than 400,000, but 66% of this increase was attributable to people from the upper middle class. In contrast, the number of people working in creative industries from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds increased by less than 100,000 over the same period, accounting for 22% of the increase.
The report also found that the Covid-19 pandemic risked exacerbating already pronounced class exclusions in the creative industries. Data taken between June and September 2020 revealed a slight reduction in the share of the creative industries workforce from the working class over the past year. Larger declines were evident in subsectors hardest hit by the pandemic, including film and television, design, museums and galleries, and music and the performing arts.
The Center called on government and industry to adopt a ten-point action plan to improve social mobility in the creative economy. The main recommendations include improving the quality of employment and business practices in the creative industries, expanding access to higher education and accelerating the progression of diverse talents and promoting inclusive leadership of the creative industries.