Skills Evolution and Fusion in the Cultural and Creative Industries
The cultural and creative industries are largely perceived as the essential sector of United Kingdom’s (UK) economy. The sector embodies libraries, fashion, media, galleries, museums, and film making, among others. The creative and cultural sector is flourishing in the UK. The dynamism and innovation witnessed in the cultural and creative industries are the principal reasons responsible for the consistent growth of the sector in double digit compared to the other sectors of Britain’s economy. Like in any sector, workers are instrumental in stirring the sector forward towards success. However, the creative sector and the skills possessed by the workers are advancing dramatically. The sector is dramatically changing in all aspects of its operation despite the long-held perception that it is resilient to technological growth. The changes occasioned by ongoing global trends need to be thoroughly comprehended to establish ways of positioning creative industries towards the future. Positioning the cultural and creative industries towards prosperous success is a core concern for the industry players. The concern demands thorough examination of the increasing demands of specific roles within the sector. The pertinent issue that the cultural and creative industries are confronting is skill evolution and fusion due to technological changes and shifts in consumer behaviours.
Employers in the sector are confronting varied workers’ skill challenges created by technology growth and changes in consumer behaviour. Similar to other sectors of UK’s economy, employers in the cultural and creative industries often specify desired skills, knowledge, and competences they expect their workers to possess and demonstrate (Dunlop and Galloway, 2007). Employers in the UK maintain a list of skills they want which are considerably consistent across sectors of the economy. Ordinarily, the cultural and creative industries have traditionally employed workers possessing a mix of specialized knowledge and generic skills (Cunningham, 2004). Additionally, the employers hire individuals exhibiting impeccable professional skills like problems solving. Furthermore, employers in the creative sector are often on the lookout for people exhibiting good work ethics, teamwork, and interpersonal skills (Cunningham, 2004). Unfortunately, the creative industry is undergoing immense transformation, and the mentioned skills may not be able to guarantee success of the cultural and creative entities in the future. Therefore, the evolution of the cultural and creative sector is presenting challenges relating to skills and knowledge required to stir the sector into the future.
The skills set is evolving in the cultural and creative sector in the context of significant transformations witnessed in the other sectors of UK’s economy. The sector draw the expertise of computer scientists, artists, designers, and marketers among others to contribute to the economic advances, as well as deliver significant cultural benefits in the UK and overseas (Hesmondhalgh and Pratt, 2005). Studies published show a rising interest in the future of work in the UK and abroad (OECD, 2017). Of particular interest is the impact of jobs and skills within the economy in tandem with the proliferation of contemporary technologies (OECD, 2017). Recently, revolutionary technologies like virtual realities, robotics, artificial intelligence, and machine learning are emerging. As such, the emergence of the mentioned technologies is challenging how certain roles are to be executed in the cultural and creative companies. With many sections of the creative industries relying on technology, Cunningham (2004) believes that the future of work in the creative sector is becoming complicated due to technological growth. Hence, utilizing the emerging technologies in the creative sector represents a concern for employers who have traditionally relied on ordinary skills, knowledge, competence, dynamism, and innovativeness of their workers.
The emerging technologies are affecting how consumers access cultural and creative contents. In this manner, Campbell, O’Brien, and Taylor (2018) believe that innovative technologies are transforming the skills required to amicably address consumer needs. The modern technologies are granting consumers more power and access to broad array of cultural and creative content (Campbell, O’Brien, and Taylor, 2018). For example, consumers are consistently accessing online content instead of physically exploring the museums and galleries. Additionally, the film section is primarily affected due to contemporary viewing practices necessitating the ability of consumers to access on-demand streaming digital music and films. The same applies to online cultural information. Silvia-Adriana (2014) claims that online accessibility of cultural content and materials will enable citizens to benefit from the rich cultural diversity of people from different parts of the world. Despite existing synergies between the private and private sectors to fund such endeavours, cultural organizations are still grappling with skills that accompany the digitization of cultural information on online platforms. For that matter, workers should be able to support online creators of content as well as demonstrate capabilities of protecting the created cultural content. This requires workers to be abreast with critical components of protecting digital information to deter third parties from illegally accessing and disseminating content. Campbell et al. (2018) suggest that the cultural and creative industries must contend with the impacts of big data, consumer insights, online advertising, and multi-channel marketing when attempting to address the varied consumer needs. The skills requirement relating to how to reach the consumers and deliver desired content is changing and thus threatening the future of the creative sector if the workers fail to acquire the appropriate skills sets.
Automation is impacting changes in skills demand for work in the cultural and creative industries. The physical and fundamental custom skills are poised to decline with advanced cognitive skills such as creative, social, emotional, and technological competences increasingly becoming important for the sector (ONS, 2019). The effects of the changes are grave. An analysis of jobs done by over 20 million people in the UK showed that 7.4 percent were on the brink of losing their jobs due to digitization and automation of functions (ONS, 2019). However, the analysis revealed that jobs, particularly in the areas of robotics and algorithms require creative abilities that workers are presently lacking. Analysis on automated work activities reveals that machines are proficient at tactical and complex works (ONS, 2019). Nevertheless, UK’s industries are still performing poorly in roles requiring imagination, creative analysis, common sense, and strategizing to accomplish desired company goals. The mentioned qualities are logistically difficult and costly to automate (ONS, 2019). This implies that roles needing the mentioned skills, and constituting the bulk of creative careers are less likely to be resilient in the future.
Creative skill is increasingly becoming necessary in the cultural and creative, as well as other sectors of UK’s economy. Research exploring the existing link between skill setups of various creative occupations showed that out of the myriad transferable skills required of people, creativity is the most significant predictor and is predisposed to become more important for workers by 2030 (ONS, 2019). LinkedIn also shows that creativity is one among the top ten in-demand skills by the employers in 2018 (Hesmondhalgh and Pratt, 2005). The need for creative skills among workers is a challenge that the creative sector must address if the UK’s creative industries are to become competitive globally. The workers in the fashion, pop music, design, architecture, television, film making, and other digital media must demonstrate openness of mind alongside the willingness to change present social order and norms when designing new products and services (Hesmondhalgh and Pratt, 2005). For this reason, creativity is increasingly evolving to become a highly regarded skill in the creative sector within the UK and abroad.
Similar to creative, transferable skills are increasing becoming essential for the cultural and creative industry. Broad array of studies point out to the development of transferable skills along with creativity conveyed by the modern methods of work (Pistrui, 2018). These transferable skills include problems solving, interpersonal skills, agility, resilience, and ability to embrace change. Pistrui (2018) describes the transferable skills as soft skills that are critical in service sector. Garnham (2005) posits that soft skills have evolved to become the centre of employability skills. Problem solving, interpersonal skills, agility, resilience, and ability to adapt to change are already in demand yet shortages and gaps are still reported in the creative sector (Garnham, 2005). For example, employers in the creative sector have particularly reported a shortage in digital and analytical skills. Besides, predominantly lacking skills within the creative sector include self-management, leadership, and customer handling competencies (Garnham, 2005). Moreover, demand for design skills is consistently growing and is poised to be a challenge in the next few years. Design is a highly sought after skill in the fashion, architecture, advertising, and publishing occupations.
There is heightening interest in the concept of skill fusion in the creative industries. Research studies show a convergence of technology and creative skills with regard to functional roles (Banks, 2006). There is considerable emphasis on the need to blend creative, technical and entrepreneurial skills. This is the principal reason why employers desire science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) graduates alongside arts because they guarantee a blend of skills essential in the success and prosperity of the cultural and creative industries (Perry and Wood, 2019). Evidence shows that cultural and creative businesses are capable of mixing the skills presented by people drawn from varied academic fields to achieve desired results (Perry and Wood, 2019). In this manner, there is a substantial benefit offered to individuals capable of keeping with the pace of skills’ evolution of the creative economy. The skill fusion is up until now, a challenge in the creative industries because the shift in the industry demands is still not factored in the skills system.
The fusion of skills is becoming a challenge in the creative sector because people possessing the skills are in short supply and gaps still exist to be filled. For example, liberal media and publishing companies traditionally sorted workers in teams like marketing, sales, and editorial, among other sections. However, in the last decade, we have witnessed a trend in which media companies rely on independent contractors and small publishing firms to execute roles for the larger companies, especially in the digital paradigm of publishing. In this case, the successful completion of the publishing goals involves the fusion of creative and commercial business skills (Perry and Wood, 2019). In addition, the creative sector is in dire need of people with considerable expertise in licensing, copyright, evolving sale roles, and marketing in the digital platforms. It is incredibly significant for creative industries to recruit individuals capable of combining a broad spectrum of skills into their own person (Dunlop and Galloway, 2007). As follows, the fusion of the transferable skills in addition to creativity is pertinent to the creative sectors because it will be essential in improving business activities in the next few years.
Skills evolution and fusion are the pertinent issue affecting the cultural and creative industries due to advances in technology and changes in consumer behaviour. The advances in technology and changes in consumer demands affect how products and services and delivered to the consumers. Traditionally, the cultural and creative sector has relied on the skill sets that are consistent across the different sectors of the economy. Indeed, the sector owes its success to personnel marked by world-leading talents, capabilities and highly developed competences. The sector employs STEM graduates, as well as those with bias in humanities. However, new functional frontiers have emerged requiring employers in the creative sector to evaluate the changing skills requirement, as well as the perceived benefits likely to be offered by individuals possessing creative, design, and a blend of subtle transferable skills. The people employed to work in the cultural and creative companies need to demonstrate broad spectrum of evolving human and general skills. As they continue to deliver cultural and creative benefits, employers need to find people with the appropriate blend of advanced contemporary skills that confront challenges presented by global trends.
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