The Department of Digital, Culture, Media & Sport publishes employment estimates based on the Office for National Statistics surveys. These estimate there were 289,000 UK jobs in film, TV, radio and photography in creative industries in 2019.
Source: DCMS Sectors Economic Estimates, April 2020, DCMS.
The COVID-19 outbreak in early 2020 is likely to have reduced the jobs figure for 2020. In February 2021, the government announced that 20,000 jobs and 160 film productions had been protected by a scheme to protect productions from losses until they restarted once any COVID-related restrictions were lifted.
However, a report by the Creative Industries Federation warned that creative industries such as film and TV could be hit twice as hard as the rest of the economy by the long-term impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the restrictions it triggered.
Film industry employment and company size
The BFI collates data specifically from the film sector, including the following statistics in 2019:
- In 2019, 84,000 people were employed in the film industry, the third highest figure since 2010.
- Of this number, 66,000 worked in film and video production. There were an estimated 15,000 in film exhibition and 3,000 in film and video distribution.
- In 2019, over half (54%) of people working in film and video production were self-employed compared with 18% of the total UK workforce.
- In 2018/9, 23,800 students were entered into higher education courses in media/film studies and film production.
- Growth in the size of the film workforce between 2010 and 2019 was driven primarily by increases in the number of employees in film and video production. Despite contractions in 2014 and 2019, the production sector workforce increased by 78% over the decade, rising from 37,000 in 2010 to 66,000 in 2019. Employment levels in the industry’s other main sectors have fluctuated over the period but within relatively narrow ranges: the number of workers in film and video
distribution has ranged from 3,000-7,000, while the number of workers in film exhibition has ranged from 13,000-19,000.
- The production sector has traditionally employed a high proportion of freelance workers. In 2019, 54% of those engaged in film and video production, a total of more than 36,000 people, were self-employed (Table 6). In comparison, only 18% of the total UK workforce was self-employed in 2019.
Source: BFI Statistical Yearbook