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Education and Training

The creative media sector is highly skilled and one of the most highly qualified in the economy; 57% in creative media has a degree or equivalent level 4 qualification compared with 35% of the population of working age across the economy.

Freelancers in particular tend to have degrees (57% compared with 54% of permanent employees over the whole sector).

Source: Skillset Sector Skills Assessment 2010

Recruitment and entry

Most sectors of the industry have long been characterised by an oversupply of potential new entrants keen to enter an area commonly seen as glamorous and exciting. This has resulted in a high level of voluntary or unpaid working, undertaken in order to get a foot in the door and a first paid job. 44% of the workforce in the sector report having worked unpaid in order to get in.

Formal recruitment measures, such as advertising and recruitment agents, are still relatively uncommon in most creative media industries and a third report entering the industry this way. More people in the sector report securing both their first and current job through informal channels, such as word of mouth or personal contact. The most common mode of recruitment into first jobs was through response to an advertisement (31%), though less formal modes such as through a friend or relative (22%) or direct contact with a company (19%) are also common. This is quite a different picture to the means through which people heard about their current or most recent job, the most common of which was directly from an employer (32%, though only 12% for first job). Fewer people report hearing of their current job through an advertisement (24%), than their first job (31%).

Source: Skillset Sector Skills Assessment 2010


Demand for training and development at the current time is high and more companies report an increase in requests for training (22%) than a decrease since the recession began.

The most common areas of training were reported as relating to multi-platform content and new and digital technology (also one in four employers identifying this need). One in two people declared a current need for training. Six in ten had undertaken training in the previous year, receiving an average of 11 days each (an increase from 7 days in 2005).

The older the worker the higher demand for training, especially in digital areas.

The highest percentages of the people being trained are in broadcast radio (74%), cinema exhibition (73%), web and internet (66%), and terrestrial TV (64%). The industries with the lowest proportions are other content creation (33%), archives and libraries (37%), other facilities (43%), and animation (47%).

Source: Skillset Sector Skills Assessment 2010

Further and higher education

The sector as a whole is also characterised by high levels of level 4 and above qualifications. Nearly 60% of the sector has a degree and many in media related subjects. This compares with just 27% of adults between 16 and 64 years who held level 4 qualifications or above across the whole UK workforce in 2007.

Between 2002 and 2008, entries to media studies courses rose by 27%, to journalism by 73%, to cinematics and photography courses by 51% and other creative arts and design courses by a staggering 767%. There are 13,000 media programmes at Further and Higher Education levels serving an estimated 50,000 students.

Despite this growth in provision, until recently employers have expressed concerns about the course content of many higher education providers. However, the establishment of the Skillset Screen and Media academies and Accredited courses has resulted in education programmes at all levels being seen as meeting the needs of the sector although more work needs to be done.

Source: Skillset Sector Skills Assessment 2010