From education to employment

UAL launches new report highlighting £1 billion economic contribution to the dynamic ecosystem of the UK creative economy  

hands in the middle, team

Published today, University of the Arts London’s (UAL) Economic and Social Impact Assessment Report 2021/22 produced by Hatch, has measured the economic and social impact of the university on a local and global scale.  

As a world-leading university in arts, design, performance, fashion, and communication, this report was commissioned by UAL to better understand the unique scale of the contribution it makes to support creative economic growth across the UK and globally. 

The total economic contribution of UAL to the UK economy is estimated at a significant £1 billion and 12,500 full-time equivalent jobs in 2021/22. These figures are the culmination of the institution’s vital role as employer, purchaser, and magnet for talented students from the UK and abroad. The report highlights UAL’s position as a major pipeline for graduates with the skills needed to successfully compete in the global creative economy – a priority sector in the 2023 Spring Budget for delivering future economic growth. 

Polly Mackenzie, Chief Purpose Officer at UAL, said:

“This important assessment allows us to recognise the ripple effect that we have as an institution thanks to our talented staff and students, and our important partnerships within and outside of the creative sector both in London, across the UK and globally. As a world-class, social purpose driven university with a commitment to shaping the creative industries, the sizable economic and social impact illustrated in this report helps us to continue to demonstrate the value of creativity to the world”.

This impact has been generated in several ways, both direct and indirect, including: 

  • The UAL Awarding Body validated pre-degree qualifications for 64,300 pupils across the UK, helping students from some of the most deprived local authorities in England progress to higher education or employment at an estimated social value of £70 million.
  • In 2021/22 alone UAL invested £154 million in the regeneration of priority areas of London, including the Fashion District at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, with plans to invest a further £390m by 2027. This is bolstered by a number of outreach initiatives in these areas, including London College of Fashion’s Making for Change @ Poplar Works which provides women from marginalised communities and ex-offenders with fashion skills and employment opportunities. 
  • Providing UAL students with enterprise skills and leading skills development business programmes, resulting in the 6th highest graduate enterprise rate of all UK higher education institutions. More UAL Graduates have gone on to lead or found more companies than any other university in the UK since 2000. 
  • Spending a total of £175 million with UK suppliers – over two thirds of which was spent in London (£120m). This results in an employment impact that has nearly doubled since 2014/15.
  • Working with businesses and academic partners from across the globe to deliver creative solutions and develop new ideas, products, and processes through paid consultancy and contract research. It is estimated that these research activities contributed an estimated £35 million in benefits to the economy at large. 

UAL’s economic report follows the publication of a UK-wide report by Universities UK on the positive financial impact of universities, calling on the government to reform how it supports the higher education sector. UAL’s contributions highlighted in this report underscore the value of ongoing investment in research, innovation and global collaborations in creative higher education. 

Read the complete report to discover the breadth of UAL’s impact and its commitment to shaping the vibrant creative economy of tomorrow.  

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