Are we living in a Freelance Economy? People are working in new and different ways in modern economies. We can see the rise of self-employed work in the UK and elsewhere, and especially with highly skilled professionals. But how big is this trend? And how do we understand what is happening? Many people find it difficult to define the nature of their work using traditional categories. A large number of workers are not employees of big or small firms, or the public sector, but yet they work for them. They are neither employees nor employers. They call themselves different things, such as freelancers, contractors, consultants, independent professionals, commissioned artist, etc. What they have in common is that they are highly skilled self-employed individuals who work for themselves but do not employ others.Many of them operate in some of the so-called creative and digital industries, working as journalists, designers, ICT specialists and consultants. However, their contribution is not limited to those industries, and it is much more pervasive throughout the economy. According to a recent project funded by PCG (a) (Professional Contractors Group) and EFIP (European Forum of Independent Professionals),high skilled self-employed workers have been the fastest growing group in the EU labour market in the last decade. They increased by 45% in the EU over the period 2004-2013, and even faster in the UK (63%). Some observers point out that periods of recessions are often associated with an increase in self-employed work, which is partially compensating for the people who actually lost their job due to the crisis. Others think that the economic crisis alone cannot explain such a prolonged growth of free spirits, and that the rise of independent professionals is revealing a more pervasive change in modern economies. Self-employment may not be just a legal status. It may reflect a distinct philosophy or workers, who are rejecting the traditional hierarchical structure of work, and adopting a more horizontal approach based on their skills and competences. How can we know more about these self-employed workers, and especially those working in the creative and digital industries in the UK? The Labour Force Survey (LFS) (b) has a specific series of questions on self-employed work, and could provide some interesting statistics. First of all, it shows that there arecurrently 1.7 million highly skilled professionals working in the UK. If we look at the creative and digital industries (as defined by the DCMS), we find that there are around 426,000 self-employed workers in one of these industries in the UK, representing one fourth of the total number of self-employed workers. Some further preliminary analysis using the LFS show that on average, self-employed professionals in the creative industries are quite young, with an average age of 44, and that around two thirds of them are males. Around 27% of them are working in London (central, inner and outer), and 15.5% are working in the South East (including Brighton), which shows the largest concentration of self-employed workers in these industries after London.Their home is … Continue reading
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The Brighton Fuse Final Report Click here to download – The Brighton Fuse Final Report
On 15th October we held an event in Brighton to release the findings of our Brighton Fuse research. Here are lots of links related to the event and our findings.
Animated video of our findings Click here to view an animated video of our findings
Statements of support Click here to read statements of support from Caroline Lucas (MP for Brighton Pavilion), Mike Weatherly (Conservative MP for Hove & Portslade) and Ed Vaizey (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries & MP for Wantage and Didcot)
Panel discussion at Brighton launch event Click here to watch: Panel discussion at Brighton launch event
Phil Jones presentation and slides from Brighton launch event Click here to watch Phil’s presentation and click here to view Phil’s slides
Brighton Fuse Press Release Click here to download: Brighton Fuse Press Release
The Brighton Fuse Summary and Policy Recommendations. Click here to download – The Brighton Fuse Summary and Policy Recommendations.
Brighton: The SuperFused City? What the Brighton Fuse Research Project tells us about the future of business Tuesday 15 October 2013 Doors open 6.00pm Sallis Benney Theatre, Grand Parade, University of Brighton Sign up to attend here We would like extend a special invitation for you to join us at Brighton: The SuperFused City? to discuss with us the implications of the Brighton Fuse research findings for Brighton & Hove and for the UK economy. For the past two years, the Brighton Fuse team have been investigating how Brighton’s creative, digital & technology cluster functions. The project has been funded by the AHRC and delivered by Wired Sussex, the Universities of Brighton and Sussex and the National Centre for Universities and Business. With a large team of researchers collecting, collating and analysing data, stories and experiences, it is one of the most detailed analyses of any cluster ever undertaken in the UK. At this special event on 15th October, we will be unveiling the results of this research, and sharing with you the individual, corporate and economic insights that it has generated. We will discuss the value and challenges of creating a SuperFused economy, and how people, businesses and cities might benefit from our findings. We believe that a new formula for success has emerged in the digital economy and for Brighton & Hove to truly benefit from the city’s new economic drivers, there needs to be radical changes to the way we understand and support the creation of value. Please join us at Grand Parade to discuss the findings with us and with each other. We hope it will prove to be an interesting and exciting evening. Refreshments and snacks will be provided. If you would like to attend the event, please register for a place here. Details Date: Tuesday 15th October 2013 Time: Doors open 6pm Report and discussion 6.30pm – 8.30pm Networking 8.30pm – 9.30pm Venue: Sallis Benney Theatre, University of Brighton, 58 – 67 Grand Parade, Brighton, BN2 0JY
The AHRC in partnership with Wired Sussex is looking to recruit a Knowledge Exchange Fellow to be based at The FuseBox, an exciting new business support initiative in Brighton. Developed from the Brighton Fuse project this is a unique opportunity for a suitably qualified researcher to become a fully embedded Researcher-in-Residence to help shape and deliver new models of business support and new approaches to co-creation, innovation and growth for the creative, digital and IT (CDIT) sector and to develop new methodologies of knowledge exchange between arts and humanities research and business. This Fellowship will be funded by the AHRC while the Fellow remains employed by his/her institution. Mentoring support will be provided by the University of Brighton. 1 year full-time. Start date October 2013 Full details of the role and its requirements, including background information, can be found on the AHRC website – http://www.ahrc.ac.uk/Funding-Opportunities/Pages/Knowledge-Exchange-Fellowship-FuseBox-Wired-Sussex.aspx
Our submission to the Parliamentary Select Committee on the Creative Economy draws on some of our emerging findings. You can read it here: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201213/cmselect/cmcumeds/writev/suppcrec/sce34.htm
Brighton recently submitted a bid to Government for funding to improve broadband capacity in the city for businesses. The bid document contains interesting information of the city’s economy and its Creative, Digital and IT sector. See the bid document here
Here’s an interview with some of the Brighton Fuse team at our Tales of a Creative City event discussing ‘What Brighton Fuse might be telling us about the future of the Creative, Digital and IT sector’. Brought to you by Latest TV.
For those of you who weren’t able to make it along to our Tales Of A Creative City event, or those that did come and want to listen back heres a recording of the full event:
Last night we held our ‘Tales Of The Creative City’ event as part of Brighton Digital Festival. Our research team shared their thoughts and stories as well as the project’s early interpretations.
We couldn’t help but having a sneaky look at the data we are collecting in the Brighton Firm Survey – here are some descriptives. These preliminary findings are based on a sub-set of our sample comprising 126 responses from CEOs, MDs, Founders and senior personnel at Brighton-based creative and digital companies employing, in total, just over 1,500 Full-Time Equivalent employees in Brighton.
Some of you busy creative and digital entrepreneurs have asked us what data are needed to complete the Brighton Fuse Survey. Very understandably, you want to be prepared for the questions before getting started with it. We thought that instead of sending the whole questionnaire, we’d write a quick tour of the survey, letting you know what sorts of things we are asking, and also warning you about the few times when you may need to access other data beyond what’s stored in your powerful brains.
Guest post by Stephanie Fuller, Senior Planning, Arts Council In my work I spend a good deal of time promoting the value of the arts and cultural sector to the creative industries as a whole and the economy in general. Current enthusiasm for growth as an economic driver doesn’t do these organisations any favours – typically they are micro or small businesses and for the majority growth is neither desired nor appropriate. Despite this they make a significant contribution to the economy through driving innovation, collaboration and exchange of ideas.
Last week we talked about some of the effort that goes into crafting a good business survey. The Fuse survey asks you to provide data on your business’ turnover, operating profit and employees. As an important note: we will of course treat these data as confidential – and you don’t have to respond to any questions that you don’t feel comfortable about answering.
After much blood, sweat, tears and biscuits, the Brighton Fuse survey went live just over a week ago. We’ve been delighted by the tide of results rushing in – if you have been invited to participate, please do fill your survey in as every response counts! Freelancers, we haven’t forgotten about you – we’re currently working on a second survey specifically tailed to your own work which will be going live in the autumn.
This is a guest post written by Ross Breadmore, consultant with NixonMcInnes. NixonMcInnes are a Brighton based social business consultancy. As I’ve stated a million times before, I love Brighton. I love working in Brighton. And I love working for a company that loves Brighton. Love love love. Brighton Brighton Brighton. So it was ace to be asked to help with Brighton Fuse, a two-year social research and development project “which will map, measure and assist Brighton’s creative, digital and IT cluster”. It involves a core team of researchers, academics and analysts, various bodies and delivery partners including our friends at Wired Sussex.
We’ve been working on Brighton Fuse for a few months, and we’ve often talked about the project to different kinds of audiences. Almost every time someone asks the same question: Why are you looking at Brighton? Why not [insert name of almost any other city in the UK]?
One crucial element of our research is the Brighton FUSE Company Survey, which is going live in June 2012. If you run a creative or digital business in Brighton & Hove, you will receive an e-mail inviting you to participate. Your participation really matters to us! We need a high response rate to develop reliable findings and sound recommendations which can help support your business in lots of ways.
Hello, and welcome to the Brighton Fuse! The Brighton Fuse is an extremely large government-funded research project being carried out by Brighton University, Sussex University, the Confederation for Industry and Higher Education, and Wired Sussex. We plan to create the most accurate picture of the Brighton cluster of digital and creative firms ever. Like you, we know that this is a super-interesting topic and our advisory board, which includes representatives from the BBC, Channel 4 and Sky, agree with us. The aim of the project is to explore one simple question: Does bringing together creativity with digital technologies lead to innovation and economic growth? Why would we expect this to be the case?