In an industry area often associated with competition for jobs and unstable working conditions, it may surprise many to hear that employment within the creative industries grew a massive 8.6% between 2011 and 2012, compared to the UK average rise of just 0.7%. According to the CBI, the industries now contribute 6% of GDP and employ over 2 million people. What’s more, the sector is set to play a bigger role if the UK as a whole is to achieve a balanced and high-growth economy with many initiatives CreateUK seeking to grow the sector further. So with this in mind, how should we set about truthfully marketing the industries to our clients? Has it become any more accessible, to a wider range of employees? And what can workers expect from the industry?
So what sectors are we talking about?
The creative industries encompass a range of jobs and boundaries can be confusing, with overlaps into areas such as heritage and technology. Essentially, however, the industry covers broad careers such as:
- Animation and illustration
- Product and interior design
- Fashion and textiles
- Fine art, printmaking and sculpture
- Journalism and writing
- Music and performing arts
- Advertising, and media communications
- TV, radio and film
- Graphic design and multimedia
What’s the demographic snapshot of employees?
The media in particular can be an industry associated with over-representation of the white middle class male. But does this still hold true? In July 2012, an employment census was carried out on the UK creative media industries, involving over 800 UK based companies. Findings of this census saw a favourable increase in representation of women. In total, women represented 36% of the workforce compared to just 27% in 2009. But whilst gender equality may be heading in the right direction, the same can’t be said for race equality. The census showed over 2,000 BME employees had left the industry since 2009, reducing their overall representation to just 5.4% – clearly this is a balance that the industry needs to redress. In terms of the location of work, whilst London acts as the hub for these industries, the census also showed a positive increase in employment levels in Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the South West of England.
What’s it like working in the sector?
Like with any sector, there are pros and cons . Working within the creative industries is most certainly not for everyone and there are some key elements that anyone wishing to enter the creative industries should expect. Most prominently, is the higher than average likelihood of working on a self-employed or part-time basis, with freelance rates alone at about 24% of the total industry. Additional to this, income can be lower than in many other sectors, and comparatively unsteady with employees often expected to work in advance of payment. However, it is a sector where job satisfaction is high and employees can expect to find fulfilment in their work. For the right people, the benefits of working with creatively likeminded colleagues, in an environment where ideas are constantly sought and encouraged, can outweigh any other drawbacks. However, there exists a higher than average amount of small companies in this sector and success can depend upon initial financial investment. Organisations such as the Arts Council, and the Creative Finance Network are worth approaching for these purposes.
For anyone wishing to find out more about the creative industries, and what they offer, Creative Skillset is a great starting point for information on opportunities, training and career development.