Government defines IT consultants as 'Creatives'

Individuals who work as computer consultants or programmers are considered to be ‘Creative’ professionals, under a government re-jig of how occupations are classified.

Business software developers, IT directors, architects and system designers have also been redefined as ‘Creatives’, shows an update from the Department for Culture, Media & Sport.

The re-classifications stem from April 2013, when the department issued a consultation paper proposing changes to the way that the Creative Industries in the UK should be measured.

Despite concerns from IT groups such as Intellect and e-skills, the department has decided that certain IT, Software and Computer Services roles qualify as “creative occupations.”

As a result, telecoms and IT directors are now classed as Creative -- but their engineers are not --  and programmers are also now defined as creative -- but their managers are not.

Similarly, creative industry workers are those doing ‘computer consultancy activities,’ such as IT development and Business Analysis, but not IT outsourcing or Cloud datacentres.

IT analyst TechMarketView says the definitions throw up “ambiguities,” but the inclusion of certain ICT jobs has clearly given the state’s figures on the creative industry a boost.

In fact, the value of the creative industry – since the reclassifications – has shot up to £71.4bn, although 43 per cent of that figure is thanks to IT, Software and Computer Services.

The tech sector is also now the biggest employer in the creative economy, having generated 791,000 jobs in 2012 – representing almost one third of the total jobs it created – 2.55m.

“[It] just shows what you can do with stats when you cherry-pick the ‘best’ bits,” reflected TechMarketView’s Richard Holway, writing in his firm’s newswire HotViews.

“We need stats that give a proper and complete picture... Ignoring large elements of the UK ICT sector just so you can claim growth in some bits seems disingenuous to me.”

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Written by Simon Moore

Simon writes impartial news and engaging features for the contractor industry, covering, IR35, the loan charge and general tax and legislation.
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