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Think BR: Take part in the 2012 census of the creative media industries

For the first time ever, the advertising industry has the chance to take part in the census of the creative media industries, writes Dinah Caine OBE, chief executive, Creative Skillset.

Dinah Caine, OBE, chief executive, Creative Skillset

Dinah Caine, OBE, chief executive, Creative Skillset

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Creative Skillset is giving the advertising industry the chance to stand up and be counted in our census of the creative media industries, which is being held today.

The previous census in 2009 included TV, radio, commercials, facilities, film, animation, interactive media and computer games among others.

The aim was to enhance knowledge and identify trends with reference to the size and shape of the industry, employment breakdown in terms of creative versus business management take-up and employees versus freelancers, geographical concentration and representation of women, black, asian or ethnic minorities (BAME) and disabled people.

For example, the last census in 2009 revealed that a disproportionately large number of women were leaving the television industry after the age of 35, sparking a wide-ranging debate about the working conditions in the industry.

Using the 2009 census data we were also able to work with UK Screen to submit evidence to the Migration Advisory Committee on job role shortages in the VFX industry, which resulted in them continuing to classify 12 VFX-related job roles as official shortage areas and adding five new ones.

This has allowed our VFX industry to remain the fastest-growing segment of the UK film industry despite a shortage of skilled graduates from the UK.

These are just two examples of how the census helps Creative Skillset and policy makers to determine where skills gaps are emerging, and tailor solutions accordingly.

This year, Creative Skillset broadens the scope of the census to include advertising, an industry that is estimated to generate £6.2 billion annually for the UK economy. Official data sources report there are an estimated 13,000 companies and almost 250,000 individuals working in the UK advertising, though this figure is widely disputed within the industry.

Working with the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA), the Marketing Agencies Association (MAA) and the British Interactive Media Association (BIMA), the census is aiming to provide a more industry-relevant estimate of the workforce size and shape.

Advertising is a dynamic form of communication and it is part of the creative media industries as it leads the way with cross-platform innovation. Campaigns cross boundaries between TV, radio, print, billboard and interactive media. Job roles within advertising are varied and include copywriting, creative, media planning and buying, account management, production and client services.

The 2012 Census seeks to update the existing knowledge that dictates around 70% of the industry is based in London, with the north west having the second largest concentration at 6%. It is a young industry with 47% under 34 years of age. Females make up 46% of the workforce and only 6% are from BAME.

Its importance as a sector to the broadcast and print industries is crucial. Advertising funds 75% of commercial television, 95% of national press, 80% of magazines, and 95% of commercial radio. Without advertising revenue, the quality and quantity of programming and editorial would suffer.

Our census, which has been running since 1999, is the only project of its kind for the creative media industries and provides a much more accurate and detailed picture of our industries than official data sources. Our census is directed by an industry-led research committee and therefore captures information that is of particular importance to them.

The results of our census are shared freely throughout the sector, allowing employers, training and education providers, policy makers and individuals alike to see the key issues affecting the creative media industries and inform decisions on how and where to invest in skills and talent.

Creative Skillset will use these findings to develop products, services and ensure criteria for funds are in keeping with the industry requirements based on the knowledge of key Labour Market Information.

We urge all employers to take the short time out of their day to complete the census today. All information provided will be treated in strictest confidence and used only for the purposes of compiling aggregate statistics on the whole industry. An independent organisation has been commissioned to carry out the survey. Absolutely no-one outside of the research team will see the answers you give and data management will adhere to the 1998 Data Protection Act.

You can fill in the online form at www.creativeskillset.org/census

 Dinah Caine OBE, chief executive, Creative Skillset


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