Social Mobility and 'Openness' in Creative Occupations since the 1970s

Orian Brooke, Andrew Miles, Dave O'Brien, Mark Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Social mobility in the cultural sector is currently an important issue in government policy and public discussion, associated with perceptions of a collapse in numbers of working-class origin individuals becoming artists, actors, musicians and authors. The question of who works in creative occupations has also attracted significant sociological attention. To date, however, there have been no empirically grounded studies into the changing social composition of such occupations. This paper uses the Office for National Statistics Longitudinal Study to show that, while those from more privileged social backgrounds have long dominated, there has been no change in the relative class mobility chances of gaining access to creative work. Instead, we must turn to the pattern of absolute mobility into this sector in order to understand claims that it is experiencing a ‘mobility crisis’.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)789-810
Number of pages22
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 12 Aug 2023


  • cultural and creative industries
  • cultural policy
  • Longitudinal Study
  • social class
  • social mobility


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