New technologies are having, and will continue to have, a pervasive effect on the future of work. As a consequence, employment in digital-intensive industries has more than doubled over the past 30 years.
However, the effects are broader than just these industries. The majority of employment growth over that period has been in occupations that cannot easily be automated. This has seen an increase in what are termed ‘non-routine cognitive jobs’ which occur in fields such as education, healthcare, professional services, arts and design. This is also reflected in the growth of those employed in creative occupations, which grew at around double the rate of other occupations between 2011 and 2016.
As this trend continues, new employment opportunities are more likely to require skills which are resistant to mechanisation. Creative skills, requiring original thought and innovation, are particularly resistant and are likely to face relatively higher demand in the future. This paper contributes to the evidence base on the importance of creative skills for future economic outcomes.
A common misconception is that these skills are predominantly found solely in ‘creative’ fields, such as the performing and visual arts. In fact, 9.5 per cent of those employed in Australia in 2016—around a million workers—held a ‘creative’ qualification as their highest level of qualification. The most prevalent of these qualifications included:
• communication and media studies, graphic and design studies, visual arts and crafts and performing arts
• management and commerce, particularly sales and marketing
• information technology, including computer science
• architecture and building.
This underestimates the true prevalence of these creative skills. This is because the data includes formal qualifications (including vocational and non-award qualifications) not self-taught skills and ‘learning by doing’, which are essential to creators and creative industries.
Creative skills already have a substantial influence on the economy. Creative skills:
• Are critical to industries that provide inputs to produce a wide range of goods and services. In 2014–15, Australian businesses relied on around $87 billion worth of creative industries inputs.
• Have been integral to fast-growing industries over the past decade. Around a quarter of those employed in Information, Media and Telecommunications, and a fifth of those employed in Professional, Scientific and Technical services hold a formal qualification in a creative skill.
• Are significant in some innovation-intensive industries. Of the top five most innovation-active industries, between 10 and 28 per cent of employees hold a creative qualification.
• Support Australia’s participation in the global economy. The share of exports in what Australia produces that can be attributed to complete or partially creative industries is 4.5 per cent.
• Will be vital to future employment growth. Around one in seven workers currently in the industries projected to grow the fastest over the next five years holds a creative qualification.
As the trend to automation continues, so does the likelihood that expanding industries will rely on creative skills. Understanding their role and influence will be critical to positioning Australia to benefit fully from new technologies and sources of growth.
Defining creativity and creative skills
• There are many approaches to defining and measuring creativity and creative skills.
• The Bureau of Communications and Arts Research (BCAR) approach to defining creative skills
builds on work from Nesta and Australian academic research that uses consistent criteria to determine creative occupations. The more prevalent qualifications held by employees in these occupations are identified as creative skills.
• The analysis finds that creative skills, as proxied through creative qualifications, are much broader than the creative arts alone. Creative skills encompass fields that include mathematics, astronomy, marketing, computer science, and the humanities.
• Approximately 9.5 per cent of those employed in Australia in 2016—around a million workers— held a formal creative qualification. This does not include those that have learned skills through creative practice or learning by doing.
Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at Creative skills for the future economy | Department of Communications and the Arts