The first in-depth research into demand for CreaTech talent and skills has found advertised vacancies for core UK CreaTech roles grew almost five times faster than the UK economy average between 2017 and 2019. It also forecasts increased investment in the burgeoning space where the UK’s creative and tech industries overlap.
The report was commissioned from Tech Nation by the Creative Industries Council (CIC), the forum of UK industry and government, in association with Digital Catapult and Moore Kingston Smith. It sheds new light on sought-after skills in the UK CreaTech category which is attracting record levels of venture capital investment.
Lesser known than FinTech or EdTech, CreaTech brings together innovations in artificial intelligence, algorithms, virtual reality, specialised software and other areas to transform creative services, outputs, and processes. The term encompasses both transformation of the creative industries by technology, and the co-creation of tech products and services.
Tech Nation's analysis of 14m UK job advertisements found the influence of CreaTech throughout the jobs market, but emphasised its impact on creative/design roles.
The number of advertised UK creative/design vacancies requiring both creative and tech skills rose by 16% in 2017-19, compared to the 3.3% increase in all advertised UK vacancies during the same period.
In 2019, CreaTech-related jobs accounted for 56% of the 125,000 advertised creative/design roles across the UK, up from 49% in 2017.
In London and the South East, CreaTech roles - which often require skills in Adobe software, HTML coding or WordPress web publishing combined with creative experience - accounted for 75% and 66% of all regional creative/design vacancies. If these regions represent the leading edge of CreaTech, it suggests CreaTech requirements will become even more dominant in creative/design roles across the UK.
The fastest-rising demand was for digital designers and product designers. Vacancies for web designers, 3D modellers, user interface designers, and other positions at the interface of creativity and technology also leapt.
The researchers did not have access to data on demand for freelance or unadvertised project employment, which can account for a high degree of work in the creative and tech industries.
However evidence of the value CreaTech-related creative/design roles have in the digital economy was provided by data on increases in advertised median salaries for these jobs.
Median advertised salaries have grown fastest for web designers and product designers. Overall, median salaries for CreaTech-related creative/design roles were 11% higher in 2019 than the UK median salary.
In addition to drawing on new combinations of skills, CreaTech companies continue to attract rising levels of investment.
Tech Nation estimates that, in spite of the pandemic, UK CreaTech companies attracted a record £981m in venture capital (VC) investment in 2020, and expects this to have risen by a further 25% to £1.2bn by 2022.
This growth rate will put CreaTech along with ClimateTech (predicted to increase 35% in 2021) among the two fastest-growing areas of Tech, outpacing HealthTech (+10%) and Insurtech (+2%).
Welcoming the report, Culture Minister Caroline Dinenage said: "It is great news that CreaTech has continued to show such strong growth.
"As we build back better from the pandemic, our creative industries will play a huge role in helping the nation to recover - creating jobs, generating investment and wowing audiences with world-class content."
Stephen Kelly, chair of Tech Nation, said: “The UK’s tech sector continues to go from strength to strength, and CreaTech plays an important role in driving forward the tech economy. These companies are increasingly attracting investment, with VC investment in CreaTech up by 22% in 2020 to touch £1bn and expected to grow by compound 25% to 2022 - it’s a hot space.
“To continue to drive forward this growth we must ensure that the UK’s brilliant CreaTech companies can thrive on the global stage and in years to come be the next wave of tech IPOs.”
“Tech Nation will continue to work closely with entrepreneurs and the Government to give us the best chance of building a truly dynamic and sustainable CreaTech eco-system.”
Dr Jeremy Silver, CEO of Digital Catapult, the leading authority on advanced digital technologies, and Chair of the CIC R&D and Innovation working group, said: “The coming together of the creative industries with the technology sector still has a huge potential for the UK economy, as outlined in this report, despite the horrible effects of the pandemic.
“The UK’s creative industries are still the best in the world, so it’s great to see that demonstrates the surge in demand for talent. What’s more, with so many avenues open to boosting important collaboration between academia, industry, the government and organisations like Digital Catapult, the AHRC and Creative Industries Council, the time is now to accelerate innovation in the creative industries and boost R&D to fuel the industries’ recovery from Covid.”
The Tech Nation report will be launched as part of a wide-ranging CreaTech topic stream at the free Cog-X 2021 Festival of Artificial Intelligence and Transformational Technology (June 14-16).
The CreaTech at Cog-X topic programme will cover subjects from ‘Bridgerton’ to e-sports, non-fungible tokens (NFTs) in the art world to sustainability in fashion, gaming for social good to the growth of virtual platforms for music.
The CreaTech Report 2021 Part 2 report:
The CreaTech@CogX 2021 programme:
Claim your free Cog-X pass