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Global Talent Report

Why the UK’s world-leading creative industries need international workers and how to attract them

October 31, 201831 October 2018

Trade and tourism in the arts and culture

Creative Industries Federation

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Based on government statistics, a custom survey of creative businesses, and interviews with stakeholders in the creative sector, this report examines the United Kingdom’s need for international workers in the creative industries and how the impending exit (Brexit) from the European Union (EU) could have an impact on the cultural sector workforce.

The report contains statistics on the numbers of non-United Kingdom (UK) workers currently employed in the creative industries in 2016. Overall, 6.7% of workers in the cultural industries are from the EU (outside of the UK), and 6% are from other parts of the world.  The report notes that the proportions of EU workers are much higher in certain parts of the cultural sector, such as architecture (where 25% of architects are EU citizens) and film and television (where 30% of people working in visual effects for film and television are EU citizens).

A workforce survey of creative businesses in the UK conducted by the Creative Industries Federation found that 75% of 250 businesses that responded employed EU nationals. Furthermore, the survey found that 57% of the creative businesses are facing skill shortages.

The Creative Industries Federation interviewed stakeholders in the creative sector about their needs for global talent and their concerns about changes to global talent movement in the future. In one such interview, the President of the British Film Institute noted the particularly interconnected and mutually beneficial role that the British film industry has with the EU in terms of filming locations, facilities, and talent pool: “The UK and European film industries share the benefits of freedom of movement for EU /EEA people, goods and services. It gives the UK ready access to a pool of talent, facilities and locations for production that may not be available at home, and indeed EU film personnel play a key role in training and developing up and coming UK film talent.” The report emphasizes the hopes of the representatives of many creative organizations and businesses that the mutually beneficial creative relationships with EU talent will continue to flourish after the UK leaves the EU.

The report outlines recommendations for retaining and recruiting global talent in the UK once it leaves the EU:

  • Promoting the creative industries’ relationship with global talent from both the EU and the rest of the world
  • Addressing the skills gap both in the UK and in the EU and tailoring training accordingly
  • Understanding ways in which workers currently use the immigration system and developing recommendations for how it can be improved (such as the introduction of a visa for creative freelancers)
  • Learning from what other countries have done to improve their systems

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