The design economy is growing at twice the UK average – but not in diversity

But the safeguarding of this growth is not a current priority, which has implications beyond the design industry. Statistics across the UK show that entries to Design and Technology GCSEs have fallen by 68 per cent from 2010 to 2021 – and has not been offset by more take-ups of Art and Design. With seven out of ten UK designers currently holding this certificate, the report documents: “our design skills pipeline is at risk.”
The design economy is growing at twice the industry average in the UK; between 2019-2020, it contributed £97.4bn in GVA to the UK economy. And yet, the future of the industry is at risk.
Notably, it reports that the design economy is a significant industry in post-Brexit Britain. In fact, during 2020, one in twenty workers in the UK (1.97 million people) worked within the design economy, in industries from product design and graphics to architecture. Among these categories, digital design, perhaps expectedly, has experienced the biggest boom. Roles in user-experience, site development, app design, video-game creation and other forms of digital design grew by 138 per cent between 2010 and 2019, three times the rate of the UK’s digital sector.
The Design Council, the national strategic advisor on design, has just launched Design Economy: People, Places and Economic Value, a study demonstrating the value of the design industry within the UK and researching the conditions needed for good design to thrive across the country.

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