The creative sector in Flanders, Belgium provides an important contribution to the economy and is a major source of employment and added value. The sector provides work to 171.265 full time equivalents (6,30% of total employment), has a turnover of € 78,8 billion (13,39% of the total turnover) and a gross value added of € 12,5 billion (5,6% of the total gross value added in Flanders). Communications, pr and advertising, design and architecture showed the biggest increase in growth of employment and gross value added.

Using the latest available data, the Flemish Department of Economy, Science and Innovation calculated the economic impact of the sector in a new study published in April 2019.

“The study shows that the sector has been growing year after year: between 2009 and the latest available data (2016) employment increased with 26% and gross value added with 42%”, says Pascal Cools, general manager of Flanders DC.

“The study was conducted on the basis of a series of NACE-codes (the EU classification system of economic activities) which were selected through desk research and a benchmark with studies in neighbouring countries”, says researcher Jan van Nispen of the Flemish Department of Economy, Science and Innovation.“We use the same top down-methodology for other sectors, which allows us to compare the creative sector with other industries. Still the results are an under-estimation, as there are many small enterprises in the creative sector whose economic activities are not captured in the databases.

Full time equivalents have increased most in communications, pr and advertising (+ 9.187 FTE’s), followed by design (+ 7.150 FTE’s) and architecture (+ 5.184 FTE’s). Digital and printed media is the only subsector with a decrease in FTE’s (- 1.591 FTE’s).

Full time equivalents

The same trend can be seen in gross value added. Gross added value increased most in design (+ € 1,08 billion), followed by communications, pr and advertising (+ € 785 million) and architecture (+ € 444 million). Digital and printed media is the only subsector with a decrease (- € 188 million).

Gross value added

“These numbers and their growth over the years point to even more entrepreneurial potential. Other studies have also highlighted the role of the creative sector as a catalyst for innovation in other industries. The creative sector therefore deserves extra attention from policy makers” says Flemish minister of Work, Economy and Sports Philippe Muyters. “I see an important role for Flanders DC in developing its potential and its innovative spill-over effects to other sectors”.

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