Creative Workers: Market Size & Analysis

Part
01
of one
Part
01

Creative Workers: Market Size & Analysis

Key Takeaways

  • The North American market size of creative independent workers equates to $211.4 billion in revenue or 1.6 million employees.
  • The European market size of creative independent workers equates to $234 billion in revenue or 2.5 million employees.
  • The Latin America & Caribbean market size of creative independent workers equates to $49.6 billion in revenue or 1.05 million employees.
  • The Africa & Middle East market size of creative independent workers equates to $19.1 billion in revenue or 792,000 employees.
  • The Asia-Pacific market size of creative independent workers equates to $245.2 billion in revenue or 4.2 million employees.


Introduction

This research analyzes and presents the global market size of creative independent contractors based on both revenue and number of workers that are self-employed in the creative industry. This market size is then broken down by 5 major regions worldwide, including:
  • U.S./North America
  • Europe
  • Latin America
  • Africa & Middle East
  • Asia-Pacific
Each data point presented below was identified directly from an industry report published by respected organizations, including World Bank Group, EY, UNESCO, and the National Endowment for the Arts, among others. Where applicable and necessary, calculations have been included and detailed to clarify how the market sizes were derived based on the available statistics of this demographic and industry. A brief research strategy depicting how this research was compiled can be found at the end of this document.


Global Market Size

  • According to EY and UNESCOs Cultural Times report published in December 2015, the cultural and creative industries (CCI) generate $2,250 billion in revenue and 29.5 million jobs worldwide.
  • This market size constitutes 11 cultural and creative industries/sectors, including:
    • Advertising — Advertising agencies
    • Architecture — Architectural firms
    • Books — Physical/digital books sales (including scientific, technical, and medical books)
    • Gaming — Video game publishers, developers and retailers; equipment sales
    • Music — Sound recording and music publishing industry, live music
    • Movie — Motion picture production, post-production and distribution
    • Newspapers and Magazines — Newspaper and magazine publishing industry (B2C and B2B, news agencies)
    • Performing Arts — Performing arts activities; dance, theatre, live music, opera, ballet, etc.
    • Radio — Radio broadcasting activities
    • TV — TV programming, production and broadcasting including cable and satellite
    • Visual Arts — Visual arts creation, museums, photographic and design activities.
  • The respective revenues and number of jobs created by each of the above-listed CCI sectors are as follows:
  • UNESCO and World Bank Group published the Cities Culture Creativity report in 2021, which states that globally, 33% of employees in the creative industry are self-employed.
------------
  • By adding up the total number of creative freelance/independent contractors from each of the 5 regions of the world, the global market size in terms of number of employees of creative independent contractors can be calculated to be 10,174,705 employees.
    • [1,602,700 creative freelancers in North America] + [2,549,000 creative freelancers in Europe] + [1,040,000 creative freelancers in Latin America & Caribbean] + [4,191,000 creative freelancers in Asia-Pacific] + [792,000 creative freelancers in Africa & Middle East] = 10,174,700 creative freelancers worldwide
  • Alternatively, a rough estimate of the global market size of creative independent contractors can be calculated as follows:
    • CALCULATION: [# of creative freelancers worldwide] * [global average % of creative workers that are self-employed] = # of creative freelancers worldwide
    • [29,500,000 creative freelancers worldwide] * [33% self-employed] = 9,735,000 creative freelancers worldwide
  • Assuming that 33% of the revenue produced by the global creative economy came from the 33% of freelance creative workers, the market size in terms of revenue in $USD can also be estimated to be $742.5 billion.
    • CALCULATION: [global revenue] * [% self-employed] = global market size in $USD
    • [$2,250,000,000,000] * [33%] = $742,500,000,000 global market size of creative independent contractors


Market Size: U.S. & North America

  • The 2015 Cultural Times report indicates that the North American CCI industry (U.S. and Canada) holds 28% of the global market share in terms of CCI sales ($620 billion in revenue) and 16% of the market share in terms of CCI jobs (4.7 million jobs).
  • Broken down by sector, the Cultural Times report shows total revenue and jobs from the CCI industry in the North America (U.S. and Canada) region are distributed as follows:
  • The 2019 Artists and Other Cultural Workers report from the National Endowment for the Arts specifies that the U.S. alone has 2.481 million artists distributed across the following industries:
  • The 2019 Artists and Other Cultural Workers report further indicates that 34.1% of all artists in the U.S. are self-employed. For some industries, the rates of self-employment are even higher:
    • Overall: 34.1%
    • Photographers: 55.9%
    • Fine Artists, Art Directors, & Animators: 53.8%
    • Writers & Authors: 42.1%
  • Of artists who hold their position as their primary job, 30.0% are self-employed. This compares to 58.2% of artists who work in the arts industry as a secondary job.
------------
  • Knowing that there are approximately 4.7 million artists in North America and an average of 34.1% are self-employed, the market size of creative independent contractors in North America (U.S. and Canada) can be calculated to be 1,602,700 employees.
    • [Total # of artists] * [% Self-employed] = Market size of self-employed/independent creative contractors
    • [4,700,000 artists in North America] * [34.1% self-employed] = 1,602,700 creative independent contractors in North America
  • This same calculation can be applied to the United States market, as well, determining that there are 846,021 self-employed creative independent contractors in the U.S.
    • [2,481,000 artists in the U.S.] * [34.1% self-employed] = 846,021 creative independent contractors in the U.S.
  • Assuming that 34.1% of the revenue produced by the North American creative economy came from the 34.1% of freelance creative workers, the market size in terms of revenue in $USD can also be estimated to be $211.4 billion.
    • CALCULATION: [North American revenue] * [% self-employed] = North American market size in $USD
    • [620,000,000,000] * [34.1%] = $211,420,000,000 North American size of creative independent contractors


Market Size: Europe

  • The 2015 Cultural Times report indicates that the European CCI industry holds 32% of the global market share in terms of CCI sales ($709 billion in revenue) and 26% of the market share in terms of CCI jobs (7.7 million jobs).
  • Broken down by sector, the Cultural Times report shows total revenue and jobs from the CCI industry in the European region are distributed as follows:
  • The European Commission published in October 2019 that there were an estimated 8.4 million persons employed in the cultural and creative industries in the EU as of 2015. Of these persons, approximately
  • EYs January 2021 Rebuilding Europe report states that Europe's cultural and creative economy brought in €643billion in revenue in 2019, which equates to approximately $761 billion. It furthermore notes that as of 2019, the CCI sector employed more than 7.6 million persons.
  • The respective revenues brought in by each CCI industry in 2019 in Europe were as follows:
  • Broken down by industry, the Rebuilding Europe report shows that total employment from the CCI sector is distributed as follows:
  • As of 2019, EYs Rebuilding Europe report indicates that 33% of workers in the CCI sector in Europe were freelancers.
------------
  • Knowing that there are approximately 7.7 million artists in Europe and an average of 33% are self-employed, the market size of creative independent contractors in Europe can be calculated to be 2,549,000 employees.
    • [Total # of artists] * [% Self-employed] = Market size of self-employed/independent creative contractors
    • [7,700,000 artists in Europe] * [33% self-employed] = 2,549,000 creative independent contractors in Europe
  • Assuming that 33% of the revenue produced by the European creative economy came from the 33% of freelance creative workers, the market size in terms of revenue in $USD can also be estimated to be $234 billion.
    • CALCULATION: [European revenue] * [% self-employed] = European market size in $USD
    • [$709,000,000,000 billion] * [33%] = $233,970,000,000 European market size of creative independent contractors


Market Size: Latin America & Caribbean

  • The 2015 Cultural Times report indicates that the Latin American & Caribbean CCI industry holds 6% of the global market share in terms of CCI sales ($124 billion in revenue) and 7% of the market share in terms of CCI jobs (1.9 million jobs).
  • Broken down by sector, the Cultural Times report shows total revenue and jobs from the CCI industry in the Latin America & Caribbean region are distributed as follows:
  • A more recent 2020 analysis of the cultural and creative industries in Latin America from UNESCO indicate that more than 2.6 million people work in the sector.
  • The World Bank Group's 2020 Orange Economy: As a Driver of Jobs for Youth report further indicates that more than 40% of creative workers in Latin America are self-employed and 24% are freelancers.
------------
  • Knowing that there are approximately 2.6 million artists in Latin America and the Caribbean as of 2020, of which an average of 40% are self-employed, the market size of creative independent contractors in Latin America and the Caribbean can be calculated to be 1,040,000 employees.
    • [Total # of artists] * [% Self-employed] = Market size of self-employed/independent creative contractors
    • [2,600,000 artists in LAC] * [40% self-employed] = 1,040,000 creative independent contractors in Latin America & Caribbean
  • Assuming that 40% of the revenue produced by the Latin American & Caribbean creative economy came from the 40% of freelance creative workers, the market size in terms of revenue in $USD can also be estimated to be $49.6 billion.
    • CALCULATION: [LAC revenue] * [% self-employed] = LAC market size in $USD
    • [$124,000,000,000 billion] * [40%] = $49,600,000,000 LAC market size of creative independent contractors



Market Size: Africa & Middle East

  • The 2015 Cultural Times report indicates that the African & Middle East CCI industry holds 3% of the global market share in terms of CCI sales ($58 billion in revenue) and 8% of the market share in terms of CCI jobs (2.4 million jobs).
  • Broken down by sector, the Cultural Times report shows total revenue and jobs from the CCI industry in the Africa & Middle East region are distributed as follows:
------------
  • Assuming that approximately 33% of employees that work in the creative industry in Africa and the Middle East are self-employed/contractors — as stated by UNESCO and World Bank Group in their 2021 Cities Culture Creativity report — it can be estimated that the market size of creative independent contractors in Africa and the Middle East is around 792,000 employees.
    • [Total # of artists] * [% Self-employed] = Market size of self-employed/independent creative contractors
    • [2,400,000 artists in Africa & Middle East] * [33% self-employed] = 792,000 creative independent contractors in the Asia-Pacific
  • Assuming that 33% of the revenue produced by the Africa and Middle East creative economy came from the 33% of freelance creative workers, the market size in terms of revenue in $USD can also be estimated to be $19.1 billion.
    • CALCULATION: [LAC revenue] * [% self-employed] = Africa & Middle East market size in $USD
    • [$58,000,000,000 billion] * [33%] = $19,140,000,000 Africa & Middle East market size of creative independent contractors


Market Size: Asia-Pacific

  • The 2015 Cultural Times report indicates that the Asia-Pacific CCI industry holds 33% of the global market share in terms of CCI sales ($743 billion in revenue) and 43% of the market share in terms of CCI jobs (12.7 million jobs).
  • Broken down by sector, the Cultural Times report shows total revenue and jobs from the CCI industry in the Asia-Pacific region are distributed as follows:
------
  • Assuming that approximately 33% of employees that work in the creative industry in the Asia-Pacific region are self-employed/contractors — as stated by UNESCO and World Bank Group in their 2021 Cities Culture Creativity report — it can be estimated that the market size of creative independent contractors in the Asia Pacific is around 4.191 million employees.
    • [Total # of artists] * [% Self-employed] = Market size of self-employed/independent creative contractors
    • [12,700,000 artists in Asia-Pacific] * [33% self-employed] = 4,191,000 creative independent contractors in the Asia-Pacific
  • Assuming that 33% of the revenue produced by the Asia-Pacific creative economy came from the 33% of freelance creative workers, the market size in terms of revenue in $USD can also be estimated to be $245.2 billion.
    • CALCULATION: [LAC revenue] * [% self-employed] = Asia-Pacific market size in $USD
    • [$743,000,000,000 billion] * [33%] = $245,190,000,000 Asia-Pacific market size of creative independent contractors


Research Strategy

For this research on creative independent workers market size, we leveraged the most reputable sources of information that were available in the public domain, including the World Bank Group, EY, UNESCO, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Using each of these reports, we were able to distinguish the total number of employees and revenue that are part of the creative industries globally, as well as in each of the 5 primary geographic regions. This data was first presented for the total creative economy in each region, including both self-employed and wage-earning workers. From there, we worked to identify what percentage of creative employees in each region, as well as globally, are self-employed.

For the U.S./North America, Europe, and Latin America, we were able to locate specific percentages that define what percent of employees in the creative sector are self-employed. These figures were then used to triangulate how many creative independent contractors are employed in each region, as well as how much revenue is produced by these groups. For Africa/Middle East and the Asia-Pacific, we were unable to locate specific values that identified what percent of workers in the region's creative industries were self-employed. However, we did locate a 2021 report from World Bank Group that indicated on average, 33% of employees in the creative sector are self-employed worldwide. Using this value, we conducted the same equation to determine how many creative independent contractors are employed in each region, as well as how much revenue is produced by these groups.

For the global market size, we applied a two-pronged approach to provide a rough estimate of the revenue produced by creative independent contractors worldwide, and the total number of employees that are self-employed in the global creative economy. These approaches included summing the total number of workers from each region, followed by calculating an estimate based on UNESCOs statement that 33% of all creative workers are self-employed.

Research proposal:

Only the project owner can select the next research path.
Need related research? Let's launch your next project!
Sources
Sources