Reading through the just published and much anticipated Institute for Fiscal Studies’ report on graduate earnings http://www.ifs.org.uk/publi
cations/8233 it is almost as if the authors have taken their research cue from Education Minister Nicky Morgan and her “don’t bother studying the creative arts” mantra.
The report is a ‘factual’ piece of policy-based evidence that, no doubt, will play a major role in the anti-arts education ‘evidence-based’ policy that will inevitably follow in its wake. What else is one to make of the numerous statements such as: “Creative Arts graduates have very low earnings because they possess characteristics that would be associated with lower earnings anyway” (p45) – characteristics, presumably, such as creativity, the ability to deal with change and uncertainty, problem-solving, etc. that employers say they want?
The IFS report is yet another policy-pleasing case of knowing the ‘price of everything and the value of nothing’. In its determination to demonstrate the worthlessness of creative arts higher education (and the folly of public subsidy for it), it signally fails to mention that the UK’s creative economy employs around 2.5 million and is growing much faster than the UK workforce as a whole. That the creative industries – which specialise in employing people with creative occupations – now account for more than 5% of Gross Value Added (GVA), and that sector is growing faster than all other sectors except real estate activities. And that does not include the GVA contributions of individuals employed in creative occupations outside of the creative industries. Doing so, according to NESTA, would have a significant effect, making the creative economy’s GVA contribution almost 10%
And what subjects did many of those essential contributors to the national economy study at university?
I believe you’ll find many of them categorised under ‘Creative Arts’.