The creative sector in New Zealand : mapping and economic role : report to New Zealand Trade and Enterprise

Andrews, Grant, Yeabsley, John, & Higgs, Peter L. (2009) The creative sector in New Zealand : mapping and economic role : report to New Zealand Trade and Enterprise. New Zealand Institute of Economic Research.


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The New Zealand creative sector was responsible for almost 121,000 jobs at the time of the 2006 Census (6.3% of total employment). These are divided between • 35,751 creative specialists – persons employed doing creative work in creative industries • 42,300 support workers - persons providing management and support services in creative industries • 42,792 embedded creative workers – persons engaged in creative work in other types of enterprise The most striking feature of this breakdown is the fact that the largest group of creative workers are employed outside the creative industries, i.e. in other types of businesses. Even within the creative industries, there are fewer people directly engaged in creative work than in providing management and support. Creative sector employees earned incomes of approximately $52,000 per annum at the time of the 2006 Census. This is relatively uniform across all three types of creative worker, and is significantly above the average for all employed persons (of approximately $40,700). Creative employment and incomes were growing strongly over both five year periods between the 1996, 2001 and 2006 Censuses. However, when we compare creative and general trends, we see two distinct phases in the development of the creative sector: • rapid structural growth over the five years to 2001 (especially led by developments in ICT), with creative employment and incomes increasing rapidly at a time when they were growing modestly across the whole economy; • subsequent consolidation, with growth driven by more by national economic expansion than structural change, and creative employment and incomes moving in parallel with strong economy-wide growth. Other important trends revealed by the data are that • the strongest growth during the decade was in embedded creative workers, especially over the first five years. The weakest growth was in creative specialists, with support workers in creative industries in the middle rank, • by far the strongest growth in creative industries’ employment was in Software & digital content, which trebled in size over the decade Comparing New Zealand with the United Kingdom and Australia, the two southern hemisphere nations have significantly lower proportions of total employment in the creative sector (both in creative industries and embedded employment). New Zealand’s and Australia’s creative shares in 2001 were similar (5.4% each), but in the following five years, our share has expanded (to 5.7%) whereas Australia’s fell slightly (to 5.2%) – in both cases, through changes in creative industries’ employment. The creative industries generated $10.5 billion in total gross output in the March 2006 year. Resulting from this was value added totalling $5.1b, representing 3.3% of New Zealand’s total GDP. Overall, value added in the creative industries represents 49% of industry gross output, which is higher than the average across the whole economy, 45%. This is a reflection of the relatively high labour intensity and high earnings of the creative industries. Industries which have an above-average ratio of value added to gross output are usually labour-intensive, especially when wages and salaries are above average. This is true for Software & Digital Content and Architecture, Design & Visual Arts, with ratios of 60.4% and 55.2% respectively. However there is significant variation in this ratio between different parts of the creative industries, with some parts (e.g. Software & Digital Content and Architecture, Design & Visual Arts) generating even higher value added relative to output, and others (e.g. TV & Radio, Publishing and Music & Performing Arts) less, because of high capital intensity and import content. When we take into account the impact of the creative industries’ demand for goods and services from its suppliers and consumption spending from incomes earned, we estimate that there is an addition to economic activity of: • $30.9 billion in gross output, $41.4b in total • $15.1b in value added, $20.3b in total • 158,100 people employed, 234,600 in total The total economic impact of the creative industries is approximately four times their direct output and value added, and three times their direct employment. Their effect on output and value added is roughly in line with the average over all industries, although the effect on employment is significantly lower. This is because of the relatively high labour intensity (and high earnings) of the creative industries, which generate below-average demand from suppliers, but normal levels of demand though expenditure from incomes. Drawing on these numbers and conclusions, we suggest some (slightly speculative) directions for future research. The goal is to better understand the contribution the creative sector makes to productivity growth; in particular, the distinctive contributions from creative firms and embedded creative workers. The ideas for future research can be organised into the several categories: • Understanding the categories of the creative sector– who is doing the business? In other words, examine via more fine grained research (at a firm level perhaps) just what is the creative contribution from the different aspects of the creative sector industries. It may be possible to categorise these in terms of more or less striking innovations. • Investigate the relationship between the characteristics and the performance of the various creative industries/ sectors; • Look more closely at innovation at an industry level e.g. using an index of relative growth of exports, and see if this can be related to intensity of use of creative inputs; • Undertake case studies of the creative sector; • Undertake case studies of the embedded contribution to growth in the firms and industries that employ them, by examining taking several high performing noncreative industries (in the same way as proposed for the creative sector). • Look at the aggregates – drawing on the broad picture of the extent of the numbers of creative workers embedded within the different industries, consider the extent to which these might explain aspects of the industries’ varied performance in terms of exports, growth and so on. • This might be able to extended to examine issues like the type of creative workers that are most effective when embedded, or test the hypothesis that each industry has its own particular requirements for embedded creative workers that overwhelms any generic contributions from say design, or IT.

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ID Code: 31133
Item Type: Report
Refereed: No
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ECONOMICS (140000) > OTHER ECONOMICS (149900)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2009 New Zealand Institute of Economic Research
Deposited On: 03 Mar 2010 03:05
Last Modified: 10 Aug 2011 18:31

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