Five Reasons to choose UK creative industries


1. The UK is Export minded


The UK has a long and successful history of global trading. Its creative industries are a huge international success story, delivering over £27bn of service exports in 2016 or approximately 11 per cent of all UK exports (Source: Government Statistics, DCMS, June 2018). This is a higher proportion than the creative industries' share of UK GDP which is approximately 5-6 per cent.

A growth strategy developed by UK industry, in partnership with Government, aims to increase creative services exports to £31bn by 2020.

Below, Tim Davie, CEO of BBC Studios (and formerly head of BBC Worldwide), explains why the UK creative industries are well placed for future growth at home and overseas.



2. the UK is A source and HUB for global Trends


The UK has a unique combination of strengths in media, culture and education which enable it to create and transmit trends and influence.  The UK was ranked number one on the 2018 Portland Soft Power 30 Index, with London consistently topping the Global Power Cities Index.

The UK is seen by trend forecasters as a key market; if trends do not take root in the UK, they are unlikely to be considered truly global. 


3. It is An attractive Investment market


UK creativity is defined by its openness to outside ways of thinking and external collaboration.

There are an estimated 1.2bn people on the planet either speaking or learning to speak English, and the UK has both a long history of international trading and a vibrant multi-cultural population. These factors make the country well-equipped to work with foreign traditions and partners, and underpin the UK's accessibility to overseas clients and investors.

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) estimates the UK accounts for almost a quarter of all inward investment across the European Union, far higher than any other country. According to official data, there were 2,072 inward investment projects in 2017-18, covering more than 91,000 jobs. Of these, 121 projects were in the creative and media sectors, affecting 2,354 jobs.  The World Bank ranks the UK sixth globally for ease of doing business

There are also specific financial incentives to invest in the UK's creative sector. For example, there are tax reliefs which allow productions to access a rebate of up to 25 per cent of qualifying expenditure in the film, high-end television, animation and games sectors. This approach has greatly benefited the British film industry, with inward investment directly contributing £10 billion to the UK economy over the last 10 years and encouraging some of the global television industry's most exciting programmes, such as Game of Thrones, to film in the UK.


4. It has an Educated and skilled workforce


According to the World University rankings produced by Times Higher Education, the UK has three of the world's top 10 universities, with London considered by PwC the global capital of higher education.

The UK's creative and performance education system is much imitated.The UK has a network of admired art schools; architecture is taught at more than 40 UK centres and the country was an early leader in developing dedicated digital design and games development courses. The UK is ranked second globally for industry-university collaboration.The creative industries have also worked to assess and accredit the courses best suited to preparing young talent for a career in the creative industries, with the best awarded the Creative Skillset Tick. A dedicated creative careers programme for school pupils was launched in 2019. 


5. Innovation nation


The UK is an innovation-driven economy. Between 2000 and 2009, more than 60 per cent of productivity growth came from innovation. From fashion to film, architecture to advertising, UK creatives have a well-earned reputation for challenging conventions and embracing the new with professionalism and flair. 

The UK - led by London - is the acknowledged tech start-up capital of europe. Other start-up clusters in Cambridge, north west England, and Scotland. You can find a visualisation of the UK's creative economy, provided by Nesta, here.

There were an estimated 290,000 creative industries businesses in the UK in 2017, with the sector increasing by 1.9 per cent (twice as fast as the UK economy average). The majority of new business growth is coming from tech-led companies in the creative industries, including the relatively new category of Createch.

However, most creative businesses are relatively small and do not yet export, so there is plenty of room for growth and development of new international markets.



'Why the UK?' (in Chinese) and more Chinese language content here.

A guide to exporting creativity

If you would like to receive our Creative Briefing emails about relevant international news concerning the UK creative industries, please sign up here.