The Creative Economy in the Philippines
Along with sectors like hospitality and travel, the creative economy in the Philippines has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. In this article, we define and explore the Philippines’ creative economy, and the roles available within it.
What is the creative economy in the Philippines?
The creative economy comprises industries that are based on individual skill and creativity, which have the potential to generate income and jobs through the generation of intellectual property.
Some of the wonderful creative industries include advertising, film, animation, music, architecture, crafts, design, literature, new media, and culinary arts. These are just a handful of the creative industries available in the Philippines, the list goes on.
How does the Philippines’ creative economy measure up?
The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) published its Creative Economy Outlook in 2018. It estimated that in the Philippines, creative businesses account for $3.23 million in exports and $915 million in services.
The gross domestic product (GDP) contribution of the creative industries is roughly 7%. While the figures appear positive, the Philippines lags other ASEAN nations, accounting for only 2% of the total.
Strengths of the Philippines creative economy
On the whole, Filipinos are a creative people. Filipino musicians and singers are seen as global troubadours, entertaining luxury cruise guests and performing in West End and Broadway productions. Filipino designers and craftspeople have contributed to the country’s reputation as a leading design centre in Asia.
The once-thriving Philippine film industry, however, has lost market share to Hollywood imports, and Filipino movies have failed to earn the international acclaim that East and South Asian movies have.
With such a diverse pool of creative talent, the Philippines should use the potential of its creative industries, increasing its competitive edge while also improving its image.
Weaknesses of the Philippines creative economy
Unfortunately, there is a general lack of knowledge and enthusiasm for creative sectors in the Philippines. This is partly because the creative economy spans numerous sectors and lacks cohesivity. It is critical to recognise the overall environment of the creative industries in order to develop it.
Several Philippine constitutional constraints also act against the economy’s full development. The Professional Regulatory Commission prohibits or restricts the practise of foreign professionals in several industries in the Philippines.
Some of the prohibited industries include architecture, engineering, and interior design amongst others. The Philippine Constitution prohibits all foreign ownership of media and limits foreign ownership of advertising to 25%.
How the Philippines creative economy can improve
Countries seeking to improve their creative economy have discovered that sector mapping is a critical first step in developing and promoting their creative industries. When mapping the sector, it’s important to think about whether “creative services” should be broadened to include “knowledge Industries” as the two overlap considerably.
Secondly, in terms of production, the Philippine creative economy requires financial support to subsidise production costs for small businesses. To ensure continuous production capacity, funding for small-scale entrepreneurs should also be made available.
Thirdly, efforts to improve digitisation should be made so that creative sectors can use internet channels to distribute their material digitally. The sale and export of creative goods and services will benefit from technical help and training on digital service distribution.
Finally, the promotion of creative goods and services should be enshrined in a government act (see below). An industry development strategy should also include new brands, markets, and products. Issues of trade facilitation, such as supply issues and slow goods clearance, should be addressed and handled.
What is the Creative Industries Development Act?
The Creative Industries Development Act, drafted in September 2021, aims to make the Philippines the top creative economy in ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) by 2030. The Act aims to establish a council to develop and implement a plan to promote the growth of the creative industries.
The Act intends to encourage individual artists and creative professionals to join organisations by providing tax incentive grants and loans to Filipino creatives. It also mandates that the Department of Education and Commission on Higher Education must develop creative education in order to foster new generations of talent.
In addition, the measure establishes the Creative Industries Development Council, which will serve as a coordinating body. This will be spearheaded by the Department of Trade and Industry, with key agencies such as the National Commission for Culture and the Arts. The Department of Education and the Department of Science and Technology are also involved.
How the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the Philippines creative economy
Over the years, the Philippines, along with Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand, has promoted trade in creative goods and services. The COVID-19 pandemic, however, has slowed progress and resulted in unemployment.
In the Philippines, a large part of the economy is dependent on freelancers; these number up to four times as many as those employed in more formal roles. They are, however, under the radar, making it more difficult to assist them during the pandemic. The government needs a coherent action plan to help the economy survive and recover in the post-pandemic age.
Increased digitalisation adoption could improve the creative economy by promoting technical innovation, boosting digital infrastructure, and facilitating digital transformation in all associated industries.
To avoid mass unemployment, it is also critical to cultivate creative abilities that cannot be replaced by technology. Supporting the creative industries can help to achieve sustainable development by increasing income and job creation.
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What is the CECP?
The Creative Economy Council of the Philippines (CECP) is a non-profit organisation created in June 2017 by a collection of creative industry leaders, with the common purpose of boosting the creative economy in the Philippines.
Their mission is to be a “Creative Industries Accelerator” for the country, with an emphasis on expanding the international trade potential of creative industries. Market intelligence, strategic planning, business model creation, business matching, and foreign market development will all be pivotal in reaching this goal.
CECP aims to achieve the following:
Create a multi-sectoral consultative organisation that will set the groundwork for a Philippine Creative Economy development plan, which will lead to the country becoming one of the top Asia Pacific’s creative economies
Represent and promote Philippine creative goods and services in international events
Conduct events, forums, workshops, and conventions to assist Filipino creative and cultural industries and stakeholders in developing a growth strategy for their respective sectors
Conduct or commission research and analysis on creative industries, the Philippine creative economy, and related cultural and artistic industries for the purpose of mapping, measuring, and prioritising private sector strategy and informing public policy
Make the Philippines a global player in intellectual property and creative products and services
Influence public policy that will help to nurture and grow the national creative economy and specific creative industries
Grow the industry by creating and managing global opportunities for members
Through these aims, the CECP will be a major player in the recovery of the creative economy from the effects of COVID-19.
Top creative jobs in the Philippines
Despite the challenges posed by COVID-19, it’s still an exciting time to launch a creative career in the Philippines. Below are some of the top jobs to look out for, along with median salary* and the skills required to get started.
*Salary information from Payscale
Median salary: PHP 300,000 annually
As social media is such a fast-evolving medium, there is an increasing number of opportunities for creatives. Video editors, for example, are in higher demand than ever before. Many content providers don’t even require video editors to have a college diploma. This enables even students to work part-time while still in school.
A video editor, as the name implies, puts a video together in such a way that it appeals to the target audience. As a result, they must be innovative and knowledgeable about design principles. To be most effective during brainstorming sessions, they must be able to produce new ideas and communicate concepts and methods to clients.
Because most projects have rigorous timetables, a video editor should be able to work to a deadline. Most importantly, they must be skilled in the operation of video equipment and video editing software. Adobe Premiere Pro, Adobe After Effects, and Final Cut Pro are three of the most popular video editing programmes today.
Median salary: PHP 608,787 annually
A strong foundation in design and communication is required to become a creative director, as they are accountable for the quality of all creative output. A creative director is personally involved in every step of the production process, overseeing diverse teams of employees. As a result, they will need excellent communication and time management abilities.
A creative director ensures that marketing methods are effective in conveying a message to the target audience. They must be familiar with the target market and current market trends. Skills like innovation and originality are also in high demand. These will come in helpful during client brainstorming meetings for concepts and strategies.
Median salary: PHP 222,788 annually
Graphic designers produce graphical content and ensure that a brand’s message is successfully conveyed through visually appealing media. Most well-paid graphic designers work in advertising or public relations firms.
A graphic designer is assumed to be familiar with many design concepts. Today’s graphic designers must also know how to use graphics editing tools. Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, and Adobe InDesign are some of the most popular programmes.
Web Content Manager
Median salary: PHP 677,000 annually
A web content manager manages a website’s digital content. They ensure that a website is up and functioning. In most cases, a web content manager relies on content that is optimised for search engines. Understanding search engine optimisation (SEO) is one of the most crucial aspects of web content management.
Because a web content manager is usually in charge of numerous teams, they should be a skilled leader. A web content manager should be well-versed in writing, editing and digital marketing in order to effectively manage a project.
Median salary: PHP 319,814 annually
In the creative industries, an art director monitors promotional productions. Art directors are needed in a variety of areas, including film, publishing, fashion, marketing, gaming and online design. As a result, an art director must be familiar with basic design principles. It’s also beneficial to have a solid background in graphic design and advertising.
To deliver a vision, most organisations employ a large number of artists. An art director assigns projects to others. As a result, they must be aware of what makes each individual tick. In today’s world, an art director is also expected to know how to use graphics editing tools. Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, and Adobe InDesign are three of the most popular programmes today.
An art director must be highly creative and original, as they are responsible for communicating a brand’s vision to an audience. The job requires a thorough understanding of target markets and trends.
User Experience (UX) Designer
Median salary: PHP407,500 annually
A user experience (UX) designer is responsible for ensuring that a product functions successfully, combining creative and technical talents. A UX designer must be extremely experienced in UX research and writing in order to fulfil this function. They will also need to work well with others, as they will be engaging with many people during the course of the job.
A product’s design, function, usability, and other crucial features are the responsibility of a UX designer. As a result, they must hone their attention to detail. Understanding design concepts and keeping up with market developments is also vital. An effective UX designer will be able to attach a user to a product, thus they must first understand market needs.
Although the landscape has changed somewhat in recent years, the creative economy is still a vibrant and rewarding field in which to work. Get started in your creative career with FutureLearn’s range of creative arts and media courses.