- Currently, the creative economy is suffering greatly, but it is expected to grow indefinitely into the future.
- Creative work may become a predominant occupation and sought-after skill in the labor market in the wake of automation in the coming years.
- Without proper subsidies for creative work from governmental and private organizations, there will still be economic growth in the creative sector, but not everyone will reap its benefits.
COVID-19’s economic impact has been negative for the most part.
Millions of people lost their jobs and businesses have an unclear path forward. Even as things begin to resolve, many workers are still picking up the pieces left in the aftermath of the worst of the pandemic.
Despite this, COVID-19’s amplification of remote working modalities spurred many workers to make lateral moves in their careers. Namely, lateral moves that entail working in creative sectors, such as writing or graphic design.
To what degree have workers shifted in this manner? And do these shifts indicate a long-term trend?
Currently, the creative economy is suffering greatly, but it is expected to grow indefinitely into the future. In fact, creative work may become a predominant occupation and sought-after skill in the labor market in the wake of automation in the coming years.
This article will delve into the current state of creative work, and what its long-term picture may entail.
The creative industry suffered greatly because of COVID
Despite many workers having made lateral moves due to job losses, this does not mean that the creative industry experienced a sudden economic boom during the pandemic. In fact, quite the opposite occurred.
Roughly 91% of creative workers are independent workers, meaning that they are self-employed and likely freelancing for various clients. This isn’t likely to change, as companies save money by hiring contractors and freelancers.
“One study pegs the creative worker unemployment rate at 63% and a collective income loss of more than $60 billion.”
Due to the already little support these professionals had, most creative workers were negatively impacted economically because of the pandemic.
One of the most startling examples of this consists of theatre performers. Back in November, Broadway in New York City reopened, only to be shut back down swiftly afterward due to the recent spread of the omicron variant of COVID-19.
Broadway workers continue to suffer the consequences of these closures through high unemployment rates, and the path forward for them is still quite unclear.
Finally, the average income of creative workers who were lucky enough not to obtain unemployment status is quite low.
Creative work is growing in importance
Despite how much creative workers economically suffered during the pandemic, this doesn’t negate the growing importance of creative workers in the economy.
One of the highest forms of capital a company can acquire is good content. Adobe’s Scott Belsky believes that without creative workers to create this content, companies will lag behind in the coming years.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the creative sector “was one of the fastest-growing sectors in every region of the world North and South, East and West.” At one point, it was projected to represent 10% of global GDP by 2030 according to G20 Insights.
There are good reasons to believe that the stunted growth in the creative economy brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic will not last indefinitely. And this is mostly due to the ever-present demand for the fruits of creative labor and the increased interest in lateral movements into the creative sector among workers.
According to a recent Deloitte report, there is a rising interest in news media, video games, streaming services, television watching, and the general consumption of media has increased. Also, the same report showed that freelancing significantly increased during the pandemic among creative workers.
Likewise, Deloitte has surveyed consumers on their consummatory aspirations for when COVID-related restrictions have ended. These surveys indicate that there will be a pent-up urge to attend live events after these restrictions have been lifted, leading to greater sales in live music and entertainment, all of which fall under the category of the creative economy.
The future of work will necessarily entail automation. This has already begun, and it will only speed up as our technological advances continue to improve.
The last jobs to be automated will be the ones that entail the most human elements of creativity, emotion, and interpersonal relations. It’s not clear that novels will be written by robots in our lifetimes –and even if they are, they won’t be worth reading anytime soon.
Does this mean that the future of work will entail a utopia of writers, artists, and musicians?
Despite how desirable this scenario would be, it is extremely unlikely. Economic inequality is already quite high and is projected to only increase in the coming years. Occupational opportunity is part of this issue.
Therefore, the best we can expect is that more of the human-based economy will entail creative work in the coming years. However, this does not mean that huge numbers of the human population will not get left behind during these changes.
In order to prevent this from happening, policy decisions must be made to ensure that there is broader access to creating job opportunities and training in the coming years.
Without proper subsidies for creative work from governmental and private organizations, there will still be economic growth in the creative sector, but not everyone will reap its benefits.