Richard Florida’s Rise of the Creative Class has been reissued for its 10th anniversary. I have been lucky enough to get to know Richard (@Richard_Florida) and work with him a bit over the past 7 years on variety of projects. He is a truly brilliant social scientist and great thinker. Richard is currently at the University of Toronto as the Director of the Martin Prosperity Institute. From Insight:
The Rise of the Creative Class introduced Creative Class theory. Florida’s occupational typology examines the labor force through a four-part system: the Creative Class, Service Class, Working Class and Farming, Fishing and Forestry class. Rather than measuring education, an occupational measure is more closely related to productivity than education is. Creative Class workers “produce new forms or designs that are readily transferable and widely useful – such as designing a consumer product that can be manufactured and sold; or composing music that can be performed again and again” (The Rise of the Creative Class Revisited, pg. 38). Briefly, Creative Class workers are paid for their thinking and problem solving skills, while Service Class workers are paid to perform routine work directly for, or on behalf of, clients. Working Class workers are paid to maneuver heavy machinery and perform skilled trades, while Farming Fishing and Forestry workers are paid to extract natural resources from the ground or seas.
In the United States, while 72.2% of adults with a bachelor’s degree or above are members of the Creative Class, only 59.3% of the entire Creative Class holds a college degree. This is because higher education is not a prerequisite for one to be creative, and many Creative Class workers do not hold higher academic credentials. While having a bachelor’s degree or above means you are more likely to be in the Creative Class compared to the other three classes, when looking at the entire Creative Class as a whole, only just over half of the labor force holds the credential. Steve Jobs and Bill Gates are examples of creative workers, who while not holding an advanced degree, still possessed skills that are essential to economic growth and innovation within a city.