DCMS Sector Economic Estimates: Labor Force, 2021

Principle results

In calendar year 2021, there were around 4,270,000 jobs filled in the DCMS sectors (excluding tourism), 12.9% of the total in the UK and a 3.1% increase on the 12 months previous ones.

The growth in total jobs filled in the DCMS sector was mainly driven by the creative industries and digital sectors, which increased by 113,000 (5.1%) and 108,000 (6.3%) jobs respectively filled. This was partially offset by declines in the civil society and sports sectors (4,000, 0.5% and 5,000, 0.9% respectively).

Although there is great variation between sectors in terms of demographic distribution, overall the proportion of jobs held by women was lower in the DCMS (non-tourism) sectors (44.5%) than in the UK as a whole (48.1%). DCMS sectors (excluding tourism) have a similar share of jobs held by people from minority ethnic groups (excluding white minorities) or people with disabilities compared to the overall workforce British.

According to 2021 calendar year earnings estimates, in the DCMS sectors (excluding tourism) median gross hourly earnings were higher than the UK as a whole, at £15.68 compared to £13.51. Of the individual sectors, only gambling and sports had a salary lower than the UK average, while the creative and digital industries sector had the highest median salary.

Within the DCMS sectors (excluding tourism), the gender pay gap is estimated to be higher than in the UK as a whole (DCMS 23.9%, UK 15.1%), while that the disability pay gap was similar (14.7%, 14.6%) and that there was great variation in pay by ethnic group.

About this release

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

The series of earnings estimates 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 income estimates with different demographic breakdowns . For aggregate earnings estimates, the DCMS also publishes estimates using the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE), which are considered more robust for this purpose.

In addition, the DCMS has published estimates of the civil society sector, broken down by local authority. This uses pooled data covering the period 2018 to 2021 to increase sample sizes. It was developed as an “ad hoc” version based on user demand and can be found in our ad hoc statistical release page.

creative professions

In 2020 the ONS carried out a review of Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) codes to update and revise the classification of occupations to reflect changes within the economy since the previous ‘refresh’, circa 2010 As creative industries are defined using occupation codes that have been determined to be creative, DCMS has updated the list of creative occupations based on the 2020 revision.

In this post, DCMS is releasing this updated 2020 list of SOC codes (referred to as SOC2020) for the creative professions for the first time. As a result, the DCMS has released employment estimates (number of jobs filled) for creative occupations, having released these estimates for the previous 2010 iteration of the SOC codes (called SOC2010). These estimates are not directly comparable to the previous ones.

Request for comments

This updated set of SOC codes for creative professions was developed with assistance from the Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Center and other researchers working in the field. Before fully incorporating them into our future employment estimates, we seek feedback on these codes. In particular, we ask to what extent these SOC codes together represent all creative professions. We particularly welcome comments from individuals or organizations interested in the classification of creative professions

In order to make a decision on these codes before our next publication, please submit your comments by Thursday, August 4, 2022.

Please email your comments to [email protected]

Paper comments can be sent to:

DCMS Economic Estimates Team
Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sports
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 on 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. Comments should be sent to DCMS by email to [email protected]

The UK Statistics Authority

This release is issued in accordance with the Code of Practice for Statistics (2018) produced by the UK Statistics Authority (UKSA). The UKSA’s overall aim is to promote and protect the production and publication of official statistics which serve the public good. It monitors and reports on all official statistics and promotes good practice in this area.

Early Access

The attached pre-release access document lists the ministers and public servants who have been granted privileged priority access to this release. In keeping with best practice, the list was kept to a minimum and those authorized to access it for informational purposes had a maximum of 24 hours.

Responsible Statistician: George Ashford

If you have any questions or comments, please contact [email protected]

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