Page title

Intro

Executive summary

Background

The department has a vision of a Western Australian community that is enriched by unique and transforming culture and arts experiences. Enacting this vision is ‘Creating Value: an arts and culture sector policy framework’, which articulates the public values goals and drivers across four outcomes areas: Creative People; Creative Communities; Creative Economies; and Creative Environments.

This research is an undertaking of the Creative Economies outcome area and may be of assistance to decision-makers in understanding how the profile of the Western Australian creative industries has changed since the initial study was undertaken in 2007 for the City of Perth.

The Creative Economies outcome area has an over-arching aim of encouraging the economic sustainability of the culture and arts sector and facilitating stronger connections between cultural and creative industries. Through encouraging closer relationships between the subsidised and profit-driven creative sectors, the Department will support growth and development of each.

This report will be used by the Department to generate a greater understanding of the dynamism and potential of the creative industries, and as a key input to policy and program review.

An overview of Western Australia’s creative industries

In Western Australia, the creative workforce represents 3.76% of the state’s total workforce (compared to 5.29% nationally). This places Western Australia on par with Queensland and South Australia, but below the comparable proportions for Victoria and New South Wales, where a higher share of the workforce is accounted for by ‘creatives’.

Of the state’s 41,317 creative workers, 28,485 or over two-thirds (69%) are employed in the creative industries as ‘specialist’ creatives or support staff; 31% or approximately 12,830 are ‘embedded’ creatives working in other (non-creative) industry sectors such as public administration, professional services, education and manufacturing.

Approximately 70% of all creative occupations in Western Australia are in the ‘creative services’ segments (Software and digital content; Architecture and design; and Advertising and marketing). Creative services enterprises and creative entrepreneurs provide inputs that are central to businesses across many industries, from manufacturing and construction to retailing and entertainment.

Around 30% of Western Australia’s creative workforce is employed in the ‘cultural production’ segments (Film, TV and radio; Music, visual and performing arts; and Publishing). This 70/30 split between creative services and cultural production segments is typical of most of Australia’s states and territories.

Support staff account for the largest share of Western Australia’s creative industries employment, in both the cultural production and the creative services sectors, at 45% and 40% of their employment respectively and 42% of total creative employment. The cultural production segments however, employ a proportionally larger number of specialists (31% of its total employment) than the creative services sectors (23%).

Western Australia’s largest creative segment is Software and digital content, which accounts for 13,505 jobs (specialist, support and embedded), or 33% of the state’s total creative workforce. This is followed by Architecture and design, which accounts for approximately 9,700 jobs or 23% of Western Australia’s creative employment.

Western Australia’s smallest creative segment is Film, TV and radio which accounts for fewer than 2,000 jobs state-wide or 5% of total creative employment.

The extent to which creative workers are embedded in other industries differs across segments. Over two-thirds (69%) of Western Australia’s Advertising and marketing workers are embedded in other (non-creative) industries. Around one-third of Architecture and design workers are embedded in other industries, while 21% of Software and digital content workers are employed in other (non-creative) sectors.

By comparison, across the three cultural production segments, far fewer workers are employed in industries other than the creative segments.

Creative employment growth

Western Australia’s creative workforce grew at an average annual rate of 3.2% or by 5,956 workers, from 35,361 in 2006 to 41,317 in 2011. This is comparable to the state’s total workforce growth over the period.

Like elsewhere in Australia, WA’s creative employment growth has been strongest in the creative services segments. Employment in Western Australia’s creative services grew at an average annual rate of 4.6%, second only to the Northern Territory, where the creative services workforce grew by 5.1% per annum.

Western Australia’s Software and digital content segment experienced the highest average annual rate of creative employment growth, of 5.3%, followed by Architecture and design, which grew at an average annual rate of 4.8% between 2006 and 2011.

Employment, 2006
OccupationsIn Creative IndustriesIn Other IndustriesTotal WorkforceCreative Employment
In creative occupations9,05711,65720,714 
In other occupations14,647900,765915,412 
Total 200623,704912,422936,12635,361

Employment, 2011
OccupationsIn Creative IndustriesIn Other IndustriesTotal WorkforceCreative Employment
In creative occupations11,09512,83223,927 
In other occupations17,3901,056,5621,073,952 
Total 201128,4851,069,3941,097,87941,317

Average Annual Growth Rate in Employment, 2006 - 2011
OccupationsIn Creative IndustriesIn Other IndustriesTotal WorkforceCreative Employment
In creative occupations4.1%1.9%2.9% 
In other occupations3.5%3.2%3.3% 
2006-20113.7%3.2%3.2%3.2%

Advertising and marketing (growth of 2.6% per annum) and the state’s three cultural production segments – Music, visual and performing arts (1.6%), Publishing (0.8%) and Film, TV and radio (0.2%) – all grew at a rate below Western Australia’s average workforce growth (of 3.2% per annum) between 2006 and 2011.

Western Australia’s cultural production workforce remained static overall, with a slight increase of 0.3% per annum between 2006 and 2011. With the exception of Victoria and New South Wales, all other states and territories experienced a decline in their cultural production workforce over the five years to 2011.

Perth’s creative industries

The majority (89%) of Western Australia’s creative workforce is located in the Perth metropolitan area. Of the total 41,317 Western Australians employed in creative occupations, 36,873 of those are located in Perth.

Approximately 92% of Western Australia’s creative services jobs are located in the capital city. A comparatively higher proportion of the state’s jobs in the cultural production segments (17%) are located in non-metropolitan Western Australia.

Comparing Australia’s major capital cities, between 2006 and 2011, Perth’s average annual rate of creative employment growth of 3.1%, was second only to that of Melbourne (3.9%).

Despite the majority of the state’s creative workforce being located in Perth, only 1.2% of Perth’s workforce is employed in creative occupations. This is below the comparable proportions for all other major capital cities.

With the exception of Sydney, comparing 2006 and 2011, employment in creative occupations declined as a proportion of the total workforce in all major capital cities including Perth.

Compared to the other capitals, Perth has the highest number of Architecture and Design workers as a proportion of the city’s total creative workforce.

Between 2006 and 2011 Perth experienced employment growth across all creative segments with the exception of Publishing, which showed a fall in employment growth in all the major capitals.

Nationally, employment growth in Perth’s Architecture and design segment (of 4.6% per annum) was second only to that of Melbourne where employment in Architecture and design increased by 6.1% per annum.


Page reviewed 25 June 2019