Creative Media & Arts
The UK is home to a wide range of creative media and arts industries that contribute significantly to not only the local but the international market. It’s a huge sector with some really exciting career opportunities!
From film, radio and television to visual and performance arts, literature and publishing to music, theatre production, graphic design, and the games industry. The creative media and arts sector is a highly varied and exciting part of the broader UKworkforce.
Career opportunities in this industry span anything from freelance and contract work to traditional employee contracts and long-term organisational roles. You could work in the sector, in a hands-on position within your desired role, or in a teaching and facilitating role, educating others about the industry.
Creative employees can work directly for creative production organisations or they may be what is referred to as ‘embedded’ in other organisations. This is where creative professionals work for non-creative companies but still operate in creative roles. For example, a graphic designer who is employed by a bank to help design their logo and website branding.
There’s lots of potential for growth and opportunity to build a long-term stable career, as the UK government has acknowledged the critical role of the creative media and arts sector for economic sustainability. The industry contributes heavily to the core values of broader UK society, including cultural diversity and social inclusion, education, sustainability, and technological development.
Entry into the sector is as varied as the roles available, so no matter what academic pathway you choose to pursue, there’ll be an opportunity to get started with a career in creative media and arts!
What You Could Do:
Job roles in this industry tend to fall under one of two broader categories:
- Creative Services
- Cultural Production
Here’s a few examples of the types of roles you could pursue:
Creative Services Occupations:
- Advertising and Marketing such as Advertising Assistant, Advertising Coordinator, Marketing Manager, Marketing Coordinator, or Marketing Assistant.
- Graphic Design, such as Graphic Design, Graphic Illustrator, Animator, Graphic Art Director, or Creative Director.
- Software and Digital content, such as Web Developer, Web Designer, Software Developer, or Games Animator.
Cultural Production Occupations:
- Film, television, and radio, such as Producer, Assistant Producer, Runner, Lighting and/or Sound Engineer, Scriptwriter, Director, Radio Host, Actor/Actress, or Programming Manager.
- Music and performing arts, such as Stage Manager, Sound Engineer, Musician, Singer, Recording Engineer, Mixing Engineer, Label Assistant or Songwriter.
- Publishing, such as Editor, Editorial Assistant, Publishing Agent, Writer, Book Printer, Children’s Book Illustrator, or Book Cover Designer.
- Visual arts, such as Performance Artist, Curator, Gallery Assistant, Gallery Manager, or Exhibition Production Assistant.
These job roles are only just scratching the surface. Each segment of the industry will also include administrative or managerial functions that support the sector in vital ways.
Graduate Employment and Gender Split:
Although a degree is not always essential for every career pathway into creative media and arts, it’s worth knowing what graduate employment looks like to help set your expectations and make further decisions.
The Graduates Outcome Survey tracks graduate employment across different industry sectors. Here’s the most recent data for this industry:
- Graduates in full-time employment: 45.8%
- Graduates employed overall: 78.7% of graduates
Keeping in mind this doesn’t account for graduates who freelance or may have continued to higher studies; these are promising percentages!
*Figures from 2020 survey results.
The gender split across the industry depends on the segment of the sector you work within. Reports indicate that the average split is:
Generally speaking, there is a slightly higher percentage of men, especially in more senior roles.
This has been acknowledged by several prominent professional bodies, including Screen Australia and the Australian Council for the Arts, who are working to create better equality across the industry.
Current surveys in the sector indicate the median salaries for full-time creative roles as:
- Entry-level roles: $45-65,000
- Mid-level roles: $75-98,000
- Senior Roles: $100-300,000
Salaries can be pretty varied and determined by several factors, including:
- The segment of the industry you work within.
- Your job title and seniority.
- The amount of experience you have.
- Whether you freelance or are employed directly.
- Where you work, for example, not-for-profit organisations tend to have lower salaries than for-profit or larger organisations.
- Your location, for example, companies in large cities tend to pay more than those in rural areas.
Reports have consistently indicated that the creative media and arts sector has shown steady growth year-on-year – with no sign of slowing down!
Since 2011, roles in creative services have grown at almost double that of any other industry – especially for software and digital content roles:
- The highest growth percentage has been for advertising and marketing roles, at 4.7%.
- The second highest has been within design roles, at 3.2%.
- On average, the sector has grown by 3% year-on-year.
The only area that has shown a decrease in growth is in publishing and literature, but the sector still contributes significantly to economic development.
There are multiple ways to kick-start your career in this industry.
Some popular academic pathways and qualifications include:
- Certificate II in Creative Media Industries
- Diploma in Creative Media Industries
- Bachelor in Creative Media
- Bachelor of Arts
These are general academic qualifications. You can also specialise a degree or diploma in any area of the industry you’re most interested in.
Best Places to Study:
Where you choose to study will be dependent on a range of factors, but some top institutions in Australia to study creative media and arts include:
- SAE Creative Media Institute
- National Institute of Dramatic Art, Melbourne
- Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts
- Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology
- Victorian College of the Arts
- WA Screen Academy at Edith Cowan University
Where to Learn More:
You can find out more about different segments of the creative media and arts industry through professional bodies and organisations that advocate for careers in the sector.
Some good places to start include:
- Screen Australia
- Australia Council for the Arts
- Australian Music Association
- Australian Music Industry Network
- Interactive Games and Entertainment Industry
- Drama Australia
- Theatre Network Australia
- Australian Graphic Design Association
And many more! Each state will also have several professional organisations that can help you learn more about the industry, network, and develop your career.