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One in five London jobs is now in the creative economy

City Hall research finds 1.1m jobs in the capital (21.1 per cent) in 2021 were held by people employed in the creative economy, reports Noah Vickers, Local Democracy Reporter

A person kneels, drawing on a roll of paper on a pavement
Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

One in five London jobs is now in the creative economy, new research reveals.

A report by City Hall has shown that the creative industries are playing an increasingly significant role in supporting the capital’s economy, with jobs growing by more than 200,000 in five years.

Mayor Sadiq Khan hailed the paper’s findings as proof of culture’s importance in London, calling it “the beating heart of our city”.

The research found that more than 1.1m jobs in the capital (21.1 per cent) in 2021 were held by people employed in the creative economy, up from 882,000 (16.9 per cent) in 2016.

The report comes after the mayor last month joined with cultural leaders in launching London Creates – a campaign backed by the Evening Standard which aims to celebrate London as the world’s most creative capital city.


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The mayor said London’s creative industries “are a huge success story, contributing tens of billions of pounds to our nation and supporting businesses across the country through their supply chains”.

But he added that the sector still has “significant challenges, including spiralling operational costs, Brexit bureaucracy and reductions in funding”.

The mayor said: “I’m committed to doing all I can to support our creative businesses and continue to urge Ministers to provide sufficient support to help our creative industries drive economic growth and jobs.”

In June, the Government announced plans to grow the country’s creative industries by £50bn and support a million more jobs by 2030, with £77m of new funding for the sector announced.

Pre-Covid estimates by Deloitte anticipated the UK’s creative industries needing 1.2m additional workers by 2030, primarily driven by the IT, music and TV sub-industries.

In 2019, the creative industries contributed £55bn to the capital’s economy – about 11.5% of London’s economic output, up from 10.2% in 2010. Data from 2019 also shows that the capital contributed more than half of the UK creative industries’ economic output that year.

Eva Langret, director of the Frieze London art fair, said: “This research shows that London is a global capital for the arts and has an infrastructure like no other.

“Our creative community is recognised at an international level for the vibrancy of its cultural diversity, as well as the depth and breadth of an eco-system that underpins the influence that we have in the world.”


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