Trends and skills in the European audiovisual and live performance sectors
Please wait while the page is loading

Trends and skills in the European audiovisual and live performance sectors

June 2, 2016
A publication of Creative Skills Europe, June 2016

Creative Skills Europe, the European Skills Council for Employment and Training in the Audiovisual and Live Performance sectors, was launched in November 2014 by a partnership of European trade unions and employers’ organisations.

From November 2014 to June 2016 Creative Skills Europe collected sector labour market intelligence gathered from different EU countries, developed a European perspective on developments in the audiovisual and live performance sectors, promoted contacts and exchanges between sector stakeholders active in the employment and training fields, and promoted peer learning and the exchange of best practice across EU borders.

The results of this work are presented in this report. It summarises hours of discussions in different EU capitals, and capitalises on the expertise of national skills bodies that kindly agreed to play an active part in the project.

Trends in Europe

Creative Skills Europe has been collecting available statistics in the audiovisual and live performance sectors in different European Union countries. This is a first attempt to bring together existing data on the trends at work in the sectors in terms of skills needs, and to build up some European expertise on the subject.

For the moment, given that available national information is still not complete nor fully comparable, Creative Skills Europe cannot offer an exhaustive view of the state of the sector across Europe, neither does it aim to set out harmonised European data. What it does offer, however, is a first step towards developing European labour market intelligence for better skills strategies.

In chapter I of the report, data is presented for 8 EU countries: Belgium, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain and the United Kingdom.

The main conclusions of the analysis of this data are the following:

  • Both the audiovisual and the live performance sectors have young workforces.
  • Both are made up of an increasing number of small-sized companies.
  • Both count a large (and increasing) number of professionals operating outside the standard ‘employee status’ (as freelancers, intermittent workers, self-employed, etc. or any other status as provided by the provisions of national labour law or civil law).
  • The two sectors have relatively dynamic markets that translate into a growing number of companies but do not necessarily lead to a similarly linear upward growth in employment opportunities.
Skills for tomorrow

In order to identify the key trends impacting the skills needs in the European audiovisual and live performance sectors, and in addition to the collection of quantitative data, Creative Skills Europe also ran a literature review of the qualitative analyses produced within its network of partners and contacts.

The intelligence gathered was then discussed and tested in the light of the realities of different local contexts during ‘live’ consultations.

Two main drivers of change are highlighted in the report:

  • The general technology shift and the acquisition of digital skills that represent key challenges for the development of the sectors. The digital shift has indeed deeply impacted the sector’s operational environments and its business models, demanding even stronger capabilities to innovate and experiment with new development schemes. Individual career paths have also been affected, with the emergence of multi-skilling, the appearance of new occupations and the disappearance of others.
  • The economic context that has dramatically reinforced some of the employment features of the audiovisual and live performance sectors, namely project-based work and self-employment. To manage their careers, which have become less and less linear, professionals have to diversify their skill sets even more than before. Many also have to acquire the necessary knowledge and skills to be able to cope with the legal, administrative and financial requirements of being self-employed or freelance.
Inspiring initiatives

To address the skills challenges facing the audiovisual and live performance sectors, the Creative Skills Europe’s initiative has encouraged the sharing of information across EU borders and highlighted good practices being tried out in different EU countries.

Sweden, France, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Germany and Belgium have provided examples of solutions being tried out at local, regional and national levels to identify and address trends in sector skills needs. These examples of good practice were the foundation for the drafting of this report’s recommendations.



Sectoral stakeholders and policy makers need to access reliable and stable national data in order to monitor developments in the audiovisual and live performance markets. They have to understand the deeper trends, be better at anticipating future conditions, and then be capable of adapting the skills of the workforce accordingly. In addition, more detailed pan-European data must be collected, including on employment mobility (sectorial and transnational).


Platforms should be set up, at national and EU levels, composed of the relevant representatives of sector stakeholders (employers, unions, national skills bodies, professional associations, education and training organisations) to develop analytical studies of the data gathered, and open up possibilities for practical decision-making that will respond to sectoral needs.


The new digital environment, with its constantly evolving technological advances, has operated a thorough transformation of the creative and cultural industry, affecting production and distribution channels, performances and publicity, and has also made content creation far more important. EU funding programmes and national funding policies must be made compatible with the needs of skills development in the audiovisual and live performance sectors, going well beyond basic ICT skills and recognising the role of creative stakeholders in content creation and innovation.


Project-based work, intermittent employment, and retraining needs have been features of the sector for decades. However, the digital shift and precarious economies are putting new pressures on individual workers, confronting them with greater insecurity than before. Support schemes must be designed to offer the right tools for career development (specific and horizontal skills) to all workers, whether salaried or self-employed. Better publicity is needed to advertise training opportunities for a greater take-up by businesses and individual workers.


On-the-job learning has proved its effectiveness in helping new professionals entering the market, gaining a better understanding of their future work environment, and acquiring the right set of skills to navigate it. More opportunities must be developed, fully in line with the specificities of the sector (project-based, seasonal, and supported by small structures).


Trends and skills in the European audiovisual and live performance sectors


Cepi TV EBU FIM UNI Europa  Euro FIA EFJ Europe PEARLE

This project receives support from the European Commission. This publication reflects the views of t only and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

Photo credits: Trends in Europe – Belonoga, BNR, Bulgaria, at Euroradio Folk;
Skills for tomorrow – CC licence Executive Summary; Inspiring initiatives – Kesäteatteri ©Leena Klemelä;
Recommendations & Download – European Broadcasting Union