Auckland is a major centre of employment and is a nationally strategic distribution hub. Economic activity is significant, contributing an estimated 35 per cent of the national gross domestic product. Understanding Auckland’s economic structure and changes is essential to ensuring a future that is sustainable and prosperous for all.
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Creative sector 2017: industry snapshot for Auckland
Creative industries generate and exploit intellectual property originating in individual creativity, skill and talent. They range from music and the arts to screen and digital content, publishing and design services. The sector provides a platform for knowledge and technology intensive activities, and has important links to ICT, professional services, manufacturing and construction. It also adds to the local quality of life, attracts tourists and innovative skilled migrants and knowledge workers.
Auckland’s creative sector comprises 10,000 firms with 30,900 employees generating $2.8 billion each year of GDP. That’s 3.3 per cent of Auckland’s total GDP and 3.7 per cent of its employment. Creative sector firms are small on average: 3.1 employees each, compared to 4.5 for Auckland’s other sectors.
GDP per worker is 11 per cent lower than Auckland’s other sectors, but improving faster (1.6% a year average 2000-2016, versus 0.8% for other sectors). GDP grew faster for the sector (3.8%) than for the total Auckland economy (3.0%), but employment grew at the same rate (2.2% versus 2.3%).
Half of the country’s creative sector employment (50%) is concentrated in Auckland, as compared to “only” a third of the economy as a whole. Within Auckland, the sector is highly concentrated around the CBD and fringes, with over half of its employment (53%) in just one local board (Waitematā).
Auckland’s largest creative subsector is design services (architecture, advertising and graphic design), which provides 41 per cent of the creative sector’s employment. Next is screen production (22%), split into TV (9%) and film and video (13%). Publishing (12%) was the second largest but it is the only subsector with fewer jobs now than in 2000. The other creative subsectors are radio (4%), digital media (5%), performing arts (7%) visual arts (7%) and music (2%).
The fastest employment growth from 2000 to 2016 was in digital media (9% a year); the largest absolute growth was for design (+5200 jobs, which is over half the sector’s total growth), but at a more modest 3.3 per cent a year. TV also had healthy growth (3.6%), driven by Sky TV, as did radio and music. Publishing declined by 1500 jobs (-2.1% a year).
Productivity (GDP per worker) improved by around 4 per cent a year for publishing, TV, film and video and radio, but saw little or no measured change for design, digital media, visual arts and music – and declined for performing arts (-1.7% a year).
Design and digital media appear particularly promising as enablers for Auckland’s future.