Dinah Caine, chief executive of Creative Skillset, urges the industry to take part in its first census since 2009.

Creative Skillset is once again giving the creative media industries the chance to stand up and be counted with our first census of the sector since 2009 being held on 4 July this year.

This critical piece of work helps to keep our sector and key decision makers informed about the impact of the current economic climate on our industries, as well as the emergence of important demographic issues. We use these insights from the census to determine where gaps or shortages are emerging in skills and talent and tailor our activities accordingly.

Skills and talent have been identified as a key factor in the continued success of our sector by the Creative Industries Council, a group of some of the sectors’ most senior and influential figures that was convened by the government to drive growth in our industries. This has put this crucial area firmly in the spotlight, ensuring that the findings of the census will fuel further action to help support the development of the UK’s Creative Industries.

Using the 2009 census data we were able to work with UK Screen to submit evidence to the Migration Advisory Committee on job role shortages in the VFX industry, which resulted in them adding five new VFX-related job roles as official shortage areas and maintaining a further 12. This has allowed our VFX industry to remain the fastet-growing segment of the UK film industry despite a shortage of skilled graduates from the UK.

The last census also revealed that a disproportionately large number of women were leaving the television industry after the age of 35, sparking a wide-ranging debate about working conditions in the industry.

The census, which has been running since 1999, is the only project of its kind for creative media in the UK, and provides a far more accurate and detailed picture of our industries than official data sources. Our census is directed by an industry-led research committee and therefore captures information that is of particular importance to them.

The results of our census are shared freely throughout the sector, allowing employers, training and education providers, policy makers and individuals alike to see the key issues affecting the creative media industries and inform decisions on how and where to invest in skills and talent.

Creative Skillset will use these findings to develop products and services, and ensure criteria for investment are in keeping with the industry requirements.

We urge all employers to take the short time out of their day to complete the census on July 4, or as soon after as possible. If you haven’t already received a hard copy of the form in the mail, you can request it from  Anna Chourdaki (anna.chourdaki@creativeskillset.org; 020 7713 9820) or fill in the online form at www.creativeskillset.org/census.