According to the UNESCO Institute for Statistics, understanding the contribution of cultural employment to the economy is vital. Without appropriate methods of measurement and reliable statistics, countries lack the tools necessary to evaluate the extent and characteristics of cultural employment in a comparable way (UNESCO, 2009). Nevertheless, the statistical analysis of employment in the creative and cultural (CC) sectors and, even more so, any attempt of its international comparison, are fairly underdeveloped. The aim of this study is to fill this knowledge gap with the available statistics. Even given a framework of limited available data, some interesting information and measures about cultural employment in the European Union (EU) can be highlighted. Bearing in mind that the statistical description also represents an essential base of discussion with key institutional actors in the eld and to derive recommendations aimed to promote employment and professional development in the cultural sector, this research can help identify the essential terms for a fruitful debate in the academic eld and in the policy makers’ agenda.

Generally, the economic and social values of the CC sectors are largely underestimated:

Due to the sectors’ speci cities, culture and creativity is often embedded in manufactured products (design in a garment or a car) or in popular new media services (digital delivery platforms making available creative ‘content’ such as music, games or lms); creative enterprises or cultural entrepreneurs are not satisfactorily captured by statistical tools due to their size, the project-based nature of their activities or their social value (a major feature of cultural activities) (KEA, 2015 pag. 5).

By looking at the International Standard Classi cation of Occupations 2008 (ISCO-08) database, we are partially able to overcome these limits and can add significant information to the literature on the CC economy.

Section 2 identifies the best definition for outlining the sectors to estimate employment in the CC occupations (CCOs). Section 3 explains the choice of the five EU countries to which the analysis is applied: France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom. Sections 4 to 12 presents and discusses the results. In Section 13 some conclusions are sketched.