Scotland’s arts and creative industries sectors add more than £3.2 billion to the country’s economy, according to new research published today.

The research, jointly commissioned by Creative Scotland and Scottish Enterprise, also identifies direct employment in the sectors as at least 84,000, with a further 21,000 working in a creative capacity – for example, those self-employed, or working in a creative role beyond the creative industries.

Where indirect contributions (through the supply chain) and induced effects (spending by both the supply chain and workers within the arts and creative industries) are included, the total gross-value-added contribution rises to £6.3 billion and employment to nearly 130,000. Overall levels of employment in the creative sectors are believed to be higher still, the researchers conclude, as current classifications may not capture all sole traders, freelancers or other workers.

The impact of the arts and creative industries on local economies across Scotland is also included in the study, and highlights the relative strengths of diverse sectors. Though Glasgow and Edinburgh account for 40% of all employees in the arts and creative industries, other areas also record higher than average levels of employment in those sectors: including the Borders, where textiles and fashion feature as a key sector; in Orkney in crafts and heritage; and Shetland in fashion and textiles and heritage.   

The report highlights Scotland’s performance when compared to UK counterparts in the arts and creative industries.  London and the South East of England account for more than half of all UK jobs in these sectors, followed by Yorkshire, while Scotland ranks fourth.

Andrew Dixon

Andrew Dixon, Chief Executive, Creative Scotland welcomed the report and added:-

‘Scotland’s talent is recognised worldwide and valued at home for high quality work and the joy that a vibrant cultural life brings to our communities.  For the first time, the impact that Scotland’s arts and creative industries has on the nation’s economic well-being can now be set alongside these other achievements and is further proof that Scotland thrives on creativity.’

Fiona Hyslop Culture Minister

Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop, said:-

“Scotland is one of the world’s most creative nations with a global reputation for innovation and enterprise, a world-class higher and further education system and highly-talented workforce.

“This welcome report, in our Year of Creative Scotland, highlights the significant economic benefits generated by Scotland’s arts and creative industries – overall, amounting to 130,000 jobs and £6.3 billion GVA and £12.5 billion in turnover.

“That is why the creative industries is one of the seven priority sectors in the Scottish Government’s economic strategy. We are doing all we can to build sustainable economic growth for Scotland and by providing the right public sector support, through Creative Scotland, Scottish Enterprise and the Scottish Creative Industries Partnership, we are ensuring our creative industries are well placed to realise their economic potential at home and abroad.”

Linda McPherson, director of Creative Industries at Scottish Enterprise commented:-

“We welcome the results of this study, which helps us understand more about the sub-sectors which offer the greatest potential for economic growth.  We’ll continue to collaborate with our partners to identify how we can support these sectors to grow further, and particularly to encourage our companies to invest in their growth and maximise the international opportunities the growing global creative industries sector offers.”

The research is the first comprehensive study of the contribution to the wider economy of the arts and creative sectors. Using existing data from the Office of National Statistics, researchers have refined the sector definitions to more accurately reflect contemporary creative practice – identifying 16 distinct industries.

The study forms part of a wider programme of research that Creative Scotland and its partners are conducting – a more detailed study of the Outer Hebrides will be published shortly and further studies are planned on cities, design and film.

The report can be found here: