According to a first time statistical study, published this week, culture and creative industries is one of Iceland's biggest economic sectors. The study also shows that around 6% of the labour force is employed by the creative industries, which makes the creative class"one of the most populous in the country. This is the first time this sector has been analyzed properly in Iceland.
The statistical study, which was carried through by the University of Iceland in collaboration with well known British expert Colin Mercer, is based on UNESCO framework of the creative industries. The data is based upon VAT-taxable turnover in Iceland as well as public cultural expenditure as a basis for the research.
Results show that the creative industries had a turnover of 191 billion ISK, or EUR 1,25 bn, in the year 2009, which makes this industries one of the biggest ones in Iceland. This is a far greater turnover than that of the agricultural and fisheries sector combined. The VAT-taxable turnover in the creative industries is higher than that of the construction sector and comparable to that of metal manufacturing.
The creative industries experienced constant growth in annual labour units during the years 2005-2008, with a small decrease in 2008-2009, but less than in other sectors. In the other Scandinavian countries and in Europe in general, the creative industries have truly become an independent economic sector, as research demonstrates a constant and even growth in spite of the economic recession. The survey confirms that this is also the case in Iceland. The state and municipal share amounted to 13%, which is comparable to that in other countries.
The study is initiated by the consultative forum of creative industries and financed by five ministries, including the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, and Promote Iceland.
A working group will be established by the government at the earliest opportunity and its task will be to determine how to improve the working conditions of the creative industries and how to make the most of the available opportunities, as well as to strengthen research, education and policy development, and support export activities. The group will include representatives of the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture, the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Promote Iceland and the consultative forum of the creative industries.
The group shall submit proposals for action and improvement as its work progresses, but a final report, along with an action plan shall be submitted no later than 1 March 2011.