DCMS Sector Economic Estimates: Workforce, 2021

Headline Findings

In the 2021 calendar year, there were approximately 4,270,000 filled jobs in DCMS Sectors (excluding Tourism), 12.9% of the UK total, and a 3.1% increase compared to the preceding 12 months.

Growth in total DCMS sector filled jobs was primarily driven by the Creative Industries and Digital sectors, which increased by 113,000 (5.1%) and 108,000 (6.3%) filled jobs respectively. This was partially offset by decreases in the Civil Society and Sport sectors (4,000, 0.5% and 5,000, 0.9% respectively).

Although there is wide variation between sectors in terms of demographic breakdowns, overall the proportion of filled jobs held by women was lower in the DCMS Sectors (excluding Tourism) (44.5%) than the UK overall (48.1%). DCMS Sectors (excluding Tourism) have a similar share of jobs filled by people from ethnic minority groups (excluding white minorities) or by people with disabilities compared to the UK workforce overall.

According to earnings estimates in the 2021 calendar year, within the DCMS Sectors (excluding Tourism) median hourly gross pay was greater than the UK overall, at .6 15.68 compared to 13.51. Of the individual sectors, only Gambling and Sport had lower pay than the UK average, while the Creative Industries and Digital sector had the highest median pay.

With the DCMS Sectors (excluding Tourism), the difference in pay between men and women is estimated to exceed the UK overall (DCMS 23.9%, UK 15.1%), while the disability pay gap was similar (14.7%, 14.6%) and there was great variation in pay by ethnic group.

About this release

The employment (number of filled jobs) estimates series is a National Statistic under the Code of Practice for Statistics. It is calculated based on the Office for National Statistics (ONS) Annual Population Survey (APS).

The earnings estimates series is an Experimental Statistic. It is also calculated based on the ONS Annual Population Survey (APS) and was first published in the DCMS Sector National Economics: 2011 to 2020 to provide estimates of earnings with different demographic breakdowns. For headline estimates of earnings, DCMS also publishes estimates using the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE), which are seen as more robust for that purpose.

Additionally, DCMS has published estimates of the Civil Society sector, broken down by Local Authority. This uses pooled data spanning the period 2018 to 2021 to boost sample sizes. It was developed as an “ad hoc” release based on user request and can be found in our ad hoc statistical release page.

Creative Occupations

In 2020, the ONS conducted a review of the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) codes to update and revise the classification of occupations to reflect changes within the economy since the previous ‘refresh’, around 2010. As the Creative Industries is defined using the occupation codes which have been determined as creative, DCMS has updated the list of creative occupations based on the 2020 revision.

In this publication, DCMS is publishing for the first time this updated, 2020 list of SOC codes (called SOC2020) for the Creative Occupations. Correspondingly, DCMS has published employment (number of filled jobs) estimates for the Creative Occupations, having previously published such estimates for the previous, 2010 iteration of SOC codes (called SOC2010). These estimates are not directly comparable to previous ones.

Request for Feedback

This updated set of Creative Occupations SOC codes have been developed with the assistance of the Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Center and other researchers working in the field. Before incorporating them into our employment estimates on a full basis in the future, we are requesting feedback on these codes. In particular, we are asking about how strongly these SOC codes together represent the set of occupations that are creative. We particularly welcome comments from individuals or organizations with an interest in the classification of creative occupations

In order to make a decision about these codes ahead of our next publication, please can any feedback be provided by Thursday 4th August 2022.

Please submit your feedback via email to [email protected]

Hard copy feedback can be sent to:

DCMS Economic Estimates Team
Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport
4th Floor – area 4/34
100 Parliament Street


The Economic Estimates statistical series covers the contributions of the following DCMS sectors to the UK economy:

  • Civil Society
  • Creative Industries
  • Cultural Sector
  • Digital Sector
  • Gambling
  • Sport
  • Telecoms
  • Tourism (not included in this release) A definition for each sector is available in the accompanying technical document along with details of methods and data limitations.

Feedback and consultation

DCMS aims to continuously improve the quality of estimates and better meet user needs. DCMS welcomes feedback on this release. Feedback should be sent to DCMS via email at [email protected]

The UK Statistics Authority

This release is published in accordance with the Code of Practice for Statistics (2018) produced by the UK Statistics Authority (UKSA). The UKSA has the overall objective of promoting and safeguarding the production and publication of official statistics that serve the public good. It monitors and reports on all official statistics, and promotes good practice in this area.

Pre-release access

The accompanying pre-release access document lists ministers and officials who have received privileged early access to this release. In line with best practice, the list has been kept to a minimum and those given access for briefing purposes had a maximum of 24 hours.

Responsible statistician: George Ashford

For any queries or feedback, please contact [email protected]

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