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NSW dominates creative industries: report

Date

Matt Wade

Exclusive

Sydney dominates Australia's "creative industries", a new report has found, reaping a disproportionate share of the $45 billion-a-year sector thanks to its strengths in marketing, media, design and IT.

Almost 40 per cent of those employed in creative jobs in Australia are based in NSW, a report by consultancy, SGS Economics and Planning, has found. Next highest was Victoria with 28 per cent.

NSW’s creative workforce numbered 232,000 in 2011 which was 7.8 per cent of the state’s total employment. That compared with the national average of 6.2 per cent.

Within the creative industries, music and performing arts, software development and design and visual arts had experienced the strongest real annual output growth over the previous five years.  Film, television and radio had remained stable, but the writing and publishing sector had experienced significant decline.

SGS Economics and Planning estimates creative industries added more than $45 billion to Australia’s gross domestic product in 2011-12 and generated annual exports of $3.2 billion.

Terry Rawnsley, an economist at SGS Economics and Planning, said Sydney was especially strong in marketing, media and publishing.

“These types of firms don’t grow everywhere, they are attracted to a few different things especially access to skilled labour,” he said.

“Sydney has a critical mass that helps attract creative businesses”

Sydney now has several creative industry employment hubs including Surry Hills and Macquarie Park.

“There is an agglomeration of clustering effect,” Rawnsley said.

“These businesses often like to be in what’s perceived to be a creative environment, a hip and happening place where workers can mix, not only with people from their own industry, but also with people from related industries.”

A recent study by the City of Sydney found almost a quarter of the workers in Surry Hills, Redfern and Moore Park were employed in the creative sector.

Rawnsley said the public amenity that comes with Sydney’s creative industries has broader economic spin-offs.

“It helps attract skilled labour from across the world because there’s a lot happening and the creative industry is a big part of that,” he said.

NSW was home to more than 47,000 creative businesses in 2011, the report found. The largest proportion were in software and interactive content development (41 per cent) followed by design and visual arts (18 per cent) and music and performing arts (12 per cent). It also found creative workers were relatively well paid compared to those employed in other industries.

SGS’s analysis showed about 40 per cent of creative workers are “embedded” in non-creative sectors. On average, these embedded creatives earned an even higher income than those doing creative professions within creative industries.

“This pattern was found particularly evident in Sydney and the ACT,” the report said.  “This implies a strong demand for creatives embedded in non-creative industries.”

In NSW four major industries of employment for these embedded creatives were wholesale trade, manufacturing, financial and insurance services and professional, scientific and technical services.

The study measured the economic value of music and performing arts; film, television and radio; advertising and marketing; software development and interactive content; writing, publishing and print media; design and visual arts; and architecture.

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