Huge job losses predicted in creative industries in new COVID-19 impact report

16 June 2020

Widescale job losses and significant downturn in revenues in film, TV, theatre and live events have been forecast as part of a comprehensive report published by the Creative Industries Federation, which Bectu is a member of.

Findings from the research pulled together by Oxford Economics include over 400,000 creative jobs being lost and the creative industries projected to lose £1.4bn a week in revenues in 2020.

Museums and galleries, where workers are represented by Prospect, could lose £743 million in revenue and 5% of jobs.

Other stark figures from the report, The Projected Economic Impact of Covid-19 on the UK Creative Industries Economics, include:

  • Film, TV, video, radio and photography could lose £36 billion in revenue (-57%), with the sector projected to lose 42% of jobs (102,000) as social distancing constraints affect cinema capacity and the cost of filmmaking.
  • Post-production and VFX ​could lose £827 million in revenue (-58%).
  • Theatre projected to lose £3 billion in revenue (61%) and 26% of permanent jobs (12,000), although this estimate only takes into account current cancellations and does not account for the reluctance of audiences to return to venues (only 20% would return on opening night according to a survey by Indigo). Further research from UK Theatre/SOLT shows that, without further intervention, job losses in theatre across permanent and freelance roles is likely to number over 200,000 (over 70%)

The report also highlights the economic impact that coronavirus will have on regions around the country – with London predicted to lose 16% of its creative jobs and 25% drop in creative industries revenues.

Areas including the ​North West ​are projected to lose 30% of its creative jobs (48,000) and see a 30% (£1.4 billion) drop in creative industries GVA  and the ​West Midlands ​is projected to be hit hardest in terms of job losses, with 43% of creative jobs projected to be lost (51,000) and a creative industries GVA shortfall of 32% (£1.4 billion).

The Creative Industries Federation is calling for a Cultural Renewal Fund for the creative industries. Just last week Bectu urged members to write to their MPs to highlight the need for rescue and recovery package for the creative industries in which Bectu has over 33,000 members – many of whom are freelancers.

Philippa Childs, Head of Bectu, said:​

“As the union for media and entertainment workers and freelancers the scale of devastation demonstrated in these figures is terrifying. People in the creative industries were some of the first to stop working and will be some of the last to return to work because of coronavirus.

On top of that many of our members have fallen through the gaps of the government income support schemes and have already endured many months with no income coming in. The creativity that fuels this outstanding sector of the economy comes from people who have dedicated themselves to the film, theatre, TV, cinema and live events industries. They are the backbone of the success of this sector and any plans to implement a Cultural Renewal Fund must ensure that they are provided for.”