Survey on Creatives: What we are worth

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Published:  February 19, 2014
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Survey on Creatives: What we are worth

Who are ‘creatives’? What do they do? What are they worth, to whom, and how do we measure this?

The Creative Industries Innovation Centre (CIIC) commissioned the production of Valuing Australia’s Creative Industries, a report validating the values, skills and capabilities of the creative industries in economic terms.

Produced to be internationally comparable, the report clearly shows the increasing demand for creative skills sets across all industry sectors in the economy, as evidenced by the growing number of creatives employed within other industries.

Covering Music and Performing Arts; Film, Television & Radio; Advertising and Marketing; Software Development and Interactive Content; Writing, Publishing and Print Media; Design and Visual Arts; and Architecture, the report aims to demystify the ‘value’ debate.


“As the economic and export contribution of this vibrant sector of the Creative Industries continues to grow and now outweighs that of many traditional industries, we welcome greater acknowledgement not only of the benefits that professional design brings to manufacturing and other industries but as an industry in its own right,” says James Harper, National President of the Design Institute of Australia.

According to the report, there were 95,000 people in the Design & Visual Arts workforce in Australia in 2011.

  • There were 22,397 businesses in the Design & Visual Arts sector – which includes graphic, fashion, interior, industrial and jewellery designers as well as photography and commercial art services – in 2011.
  • Design professionals are highly sought after by non-creative industry employers. Of the 95,000 workforce, 58,000 (62%) are “embedded workers” employed across a range of other creative and non-creative industries, with over 10,000 designers working in the manufacturing industry alone. This demonstrates growing demand for Design & Visual Arts expertise.
  • The average weekly earnings of specialist creatives working within Design & Visual Arts is $921, while the average weekly earnings of professionals embedded within non-creative industries is $953. Only 5.6% earn $2,000 or more per week.
  • Average weekly earnings are lower in Design & Visual Arts than several other creative sectors (such as Software Design & Interactive Content; Advertising & Marketing; and Architecture). However, the incomes of creative industry professionals overall is significantly higher than those employed within other industries.

The report also offers insight into the performance of Australian design businesses:

  • 40.7% of businesses turn over less than $50,000 per annum
  • 35.9% turn over between $50,000 and $200,000 per annum
  • 21.4% turn over between $200,000 and $2 million
  • 2.0% turn over more than $2 million per annum

The CIIC commissioned Sydney-based Small Multiples to visualise the collected data.

See the full report here

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