ABSTRACT. Creative industries are an increasingly important part of the global economy. National governments position creative industries within a new knowledge economy. However, little is known about the relationship between creative occupations and employee wellbeing. This study is the first to analyze the associations between creative jobs and subjective wellbeing in the United Kingdom (UK), using the Annual Population Survey and UK Government definitions of creative jobs. We explore the characteristics of different jobs defined as creative under UK Government guidelines, and explore the differences in subjective wellbeing associated with them. We find mixed results for creative jobs when compared against other (non-creative) jobs. A large number of jobs that are categorized as creative occupations are associated with lower levels of subjective wellbeing compared to non-creative jobs. This includes jobs in marketing and advertising, film, TV, video, radio and photography, information technology, and publishing. On the other hand, jobs with a traditionally strong emphasis on creativity, such as architecture, crafts, design, music, performing and visual arts are associated with higher levels of subjective wellbeing than non-creative jobs. We conclude that there may be disjoint between creative occupations as defined in traditional and neoliberal discourse. We question the extent to which government narratives of the creative economies may be misguiding individuals into a creative economy which does not make them happier or more satisfied. pp. 50–74
JEL codes: O15; J28

Keywords: creative occupations; human resource management; subjective wellbeing; life satisfaction; happiness

How to cite: Fujiwara, Daniel, and Ricky N. Lawton (2016), “Happier and More Satisfied? Creative Occupations and Subjective Wellbeing in the United Kingdom,” Psychosociological Issues in Human Resource Management 4(2): 50–74.

Received 10 February 2016 • Received in revised form 27 April 2016
Accepted 28 April 2016 • Available online 15 May 2016


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Centre for Economic Performance,
London School of Economics and Political Science;
Simetrica Research Consultancy, London
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(corresponding author)
Environment Department,
University of York;
Simetrica Research Consultancy, London

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