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The Creative Economy

WA creative economy can be understood through analysis of the creative workforce.

Creative workforce
Specialist creative workers and support workers employed in creative industries
Embedded creative workers: people employed in creative occupations outside of the creative industries

Creative employment in WA

A total of 51,051 people were employed in the WA creative workforce in 2021, 3.9% of the total WA workforce.

  • WA creative industries employ:
    • 13,768 specialist creative workers
    • 21,088 support workers.
  • Other WA industries:
    • 2.5% growth for creative workers embedded outside of creative industries.




Latest WA creative employment growth (2016-2021) shows a turning point in the growth trend of the WA creative workforce.

From 2016 to 2021, the WA creative workforce annual average growth was well above the overall WA workforce, indicating a stronger growth path.

In earlier periods (2006-2011 and 2011-2016) the WA creative workforce tended to grow at a similar rate to the overall WA workforce.

Creative incomes in WA 

Creative median annual incomes in WA are higher than those in the rest of WA workforce.

In 2021, the median income for a creative worker was $76,600, more than 17% higher than the median income for the WA workforce overall.

  • Creative worker $76,600
  • Overall WA workforce $65,400.

Of those creative workers, embedded creatives working in other industries earned a median income of $79,900, creatives working in creative industries earned $66,200, and support workers within the creative industries earned $81,000.

  • Specialist creatives working in creative industries $66,200
  • Support workers working in creative industries $81,000
  • Embedded creatives working in other industries $79,900.

About Western Australia’s creative industries

The creative industries are those areas of practice that turn original individual creativity into social and commercial outcomes. They draw on Western Australia’s unique identity to produce new artistic, cultural, and aesthetic-functional products and services for local, national, and international markets.

WA creative industries consist of creative services and cultural production industries.

Creative services industries:

  • fashion design, graphic design and product design
  • games and interactive technologies
  • photography
  • advertising and marketing
  • architecture and interior design
  • software and digital content.

Cultural production industries:

  • film TV and radio
  • writing and publishing
  • music
  • performing arts
  • visual arts and crafts
  • galleries, libraries, archives and museums
  • festivals
  • community arts and cultural development.
Page reviewed 11 September 2023