Why brands need to become less London-centric

We speak to Channel 4 about how it is providing more creative career opportunities across the UK’s regions, plus why an increasing number of brands are setting their sights beyond the London bubble

It’s no secret that the path to a successful career in the UK’s creative industries has traditionally relied on being based in London. According to the latest figures from the Creative Industries Policy & Evidence Centre, the UK capital represents 31% of creative industries employment, 34% of businesses and 52% of economic output, despite being home to only 13% of the British population. In comparison, the North of England (spanning North East, North West, Yorkshire and the Humber) represents just 15% of overall employment, despite making up 23% of the overall population.

Despite the rather depressing stats, if you take a look at the overall picture it’s clear that creativity is thriving in agencies and studios up and down the country. The problem is, we often just don’t hear about it. Earlier this year, CR spoke to recent graduate and designer at the Office of Craig Oldham, Alice Fraser, who is also the founder of The Outside Directory. Created off the back of realising that there was no comprehensive list of UK agencies, the directory is part helpful resource, part a demonstration of the breadth of creative talent across the country.

Internships and entry-level jobs at creatively-minded brands were also once the preserve of people who were able and willing to make the obligatory move to London, leading to a long-running talent drain from other regions. But this dynamic is also beginning to shift, with public service broadcasters Channel 4 and the BBC being two of the brands that are leading the way. Over the last decade, the BBC has moved an increasing number of productions up to its Media City site in Salford, while Channel 4 recently swapped its national headquarters from London to Leeds, as well as opening regional creative hubs in Glasgow and Bristol.