Creative industries - an overview

Creative businesses and employment in Northern Ireland

Creative industries are emerging as one of the fastest developing and increasingly important sectors of the UK economy. They are recognised as one of the key economic drivers for future growth in Northern Ireland.

Creative employment in Northern Ireland

The Department for Communities (DfC) estimates the number of people in creative employment in 2016 in Northern Ireland at 24,000, or around 3 per cent of the local workforce.

Creative employment covers:

  • employees and self-employed individuals in creative industries
  • employees and self-employed individuals doing creative jobs outside creative industries

Those working in creative employment in Northern Ireland tend to be highly qualified, with a large percentage holding a degree level qualification or equivalent.

Northern Ireland universities, Further and Higher Education colleges and Northern Ireland Skillset Media Academy are ensuring a steady supply of skilled, work-ready recruits.

Creative businesses in Northern Ireland

In 2015, there were 2,918 creative enterprises in Northern Ireland, accounting for 4.5 per cent of business units here. This is 5 per cent more than in the previous year.

Almost two-fifths of all creative enterprises in Northern Ireland in 2015 were in the IT, software and computer services group, although the largest increase (of 10 per cent) was seen in film, TV, radio, video and photography group.

Economic impact of creative industries in Northern Ireland

In 2016, the creative industries contributed £1,012 million to Gross Value Added (GVA) in Northern Ireland, accounting to 2.7 per cent of the total. This is an increase of 8 per cent on the previous year, compared to a 3 per cent increase for total GVA.

Among the individual industries, IT, software and computer services group was the largest contributor.

The Department for Communities issues a bulletin with detailed statistics and key economic estimates for the creative industries for Northern Ireland. See the latest available bulletin for 2018 creative industries statistics.