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Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics


Research from Alessandra Faggian Examines Job Market Success of Creative Class Graduates in the UK

Feb. 12, 2013

How do those in the creative class in the UK fare in the job market in comparison to their peers?  In their new study, “Bohemian Graduates in the UK: Disciplines and Location Determinants of Creative Careers”, AEDE’s Alessandra Faggian and her colleagues Roberta Comunian from the University of Kent, Sarah Jewell from the University of Reading, and Ursula Kelly from the University of Strathclyde, attempt to answer this question with an analysis of new data in the field.  “Bohemian Graduates in the UK” was recently published in the journal Regional Studies in a special issue that looks at understanding creative regions.

As the researchers note in their study, human capital and regional economic development literature has become increasingly interested in the role of the “Bohemian occupations” on economic growth. With the goal of providing further analysis in the field, the researchers used higher education student micro-data from the UK to investigate the employment characteristics and location determinants of creative (Bohemian) graduates.

In the data they were able to identify three specific creative class subgroups: creative arts and design graduates; creative media graduates; and other creative graduates. The researchers aimed to analyze the differences in career patterns and labor market performance for creative graduates and, in particular, the differences in activity for the three sub-groups identified. This task was important to the researchers as thus far there has been little analysis conducted to-date comparing the career patterns of different groups within a creative community.

In their research the authors found significant differences between the employment paths of the creative class and their peers in other disciplines; for example, part-time, freelance work and higher levels of unemployment are a common pattern for this group of individuals.

In their analysis the researchers also saw different employment patterns emerge between the subgroups that they had identified in the creative field: while creative arts and design graduates experienced comparatively low levels of full-time paid work, both creative media graduates and other creative graduates experienced relatively high levels of full-time paid work, with the creative media graduates actually showing a percentage even higher than the non-Bohemian group.

In their study the researchers also investigated the geographical distribution in the UK of the creative class graduates that they examined. Their focus on this topic builds on existing literature in the field that recognizes that creative people tend to cluster in urban centers. The researchers found that in the UK, London and the South East are labor market hubs for Bohemian graduates with 57 percent of the creative workforce residing in these locations.

Through their analysis the researchers aim to offer policymakers insight regarding the special dynamics of creative labor markets and how economies can better accommodate the needs and unique skills of the individuals in this market. To read “Bohemian Graduates in the UK: Disciplines and Location Determinants of Creative Careers”, please see the journal Regional Studies.

February 12, 2013