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The creative media sector is reliant on a wide range of occupations from creative and technical (such as construction, set crafts, web/interactive content design and visual effects), through to management and business roles, all of which benefit from applied creative media specific knowledge.

More than half the workforce in some occupational groups is freelance, such as camera/photography (73%), make-up/hairdressing (63%), lighting (61%), costume/wardrobe (53%) and audio/sound/music (52%). This is far higher than the whole economy average which stands at just under 5% of the total number of jobs.

Source: Skillset Sector Skills Assessment 2010


Occupational skill shortages and hard-to-fill vacancies

In England:

  • 10% of employers in the sector report vacancies, compared to 12% in all sectors
  • 2% report hard-to-fill vacancies, compared to 3% in all sectors
  • 1% report skill shortage vacancies, compared to 3% in all sectors
  • the highest proportion of skills shortage vacancies are for associate professionals
  • 16% of establishments report skills gaps, compared to 19% in all sectors
  • the proportion of staff described as lacking proficiency is 7%

Skills gaps are highest for associate professionals, managers and sales. Gaps are reported to be for team working, problem-solving, customer-handling, written communication and general IT user skills.

Source: National Employer Skills Survey 2009

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Pay scales in advertising are variable, so the following provides an indication of the wage structure of the current advertising workforce:

  • 37% earn more than £41,000 per year
  • 12% earn between £29,000 – £41,000
  • 6% earn between £20,000 – £29,000
  • 18% earn between £10,000 – £20,000
  • 28% earn less than £10,000

The average salary in animation is £31,700. Incidence of unpaid working is on the decrease; in 2005 60% of the animation workforce had undertaken unpaid work at some point in their career, dropping to 51% in 2008.

The average income received by the computer games workforce is £37,364, compared to the average received by the creative industries workforce as a whole of £32,200. The average salary for a British games developer is £31,964. Generally salaries of women are higher than men due to a higher proportion of the female workforce being involved in marketing and management posts.

Those working in corporate production tend to be paid well, demanding broadcast standard filmmaking or production standards in return. Experienced freelancers are well rewarded for their work. Producers and Directors can match broadcast television earnings. Pay for those working in commercial production is negotiable and dependent upon the production as budgets vary. Rates of pay vary enormously, but the most common daily rate for 10 hours is approximately £1,000 with overtime at single time.

The average income within the facilities industry varies from £40,720 per year amongst the special physical effects workforce, £32,662 for the post-production workforce and £31,146 for the studio and equipment hire workforce. These figures compare to the average annual earnings for the whole creative industries workforce of £32,239.

Film production crew earn an average gross income of £33,700. As is the case across the rest of the creative industries, men earn more than women (£35,800 compared with £30,800) and on average income increases with age and drops slightly in the 50 plus age group. Film work often forms only part of many workers’ total income. It is common to have other jobs when not doing film work.

The average income received by the interactive media workforce is £33,646, compared with £32,200 for the creative industries workforce as a whole. The web and internet workforce earns on average more than those working in other interactive media (£34,127 and £32,632 respectively).

The average income received by the photo imaging workforce is £20,450, which is low compared with the average income of the creative industries workforce as a whole, £32,200. Men earn more than women (£22,492 compared with £16,252) and, on average, income increases with age within the industry, and does not drop in the 50 years and over age group as it does in the rest of the creative industries. Among photographers, incidents of unpaid work are high – around 75% of photographers have undertaken unpaid work during their careers.

There is no current information on salary rates in the publishing industry.

The average income received by the radio workforce is low at £29,200, compared with the creative industries workforce as a whole, £32,200. Permanent employees in the radio industry have a much higher average income than those working as freelancers (averages of £31,800 and £20,500 respectively). Incidence of unpaid working (excluding an occasional charitable contribution) is higher within the radio workforce than within the wider creative industries workforce (43% and 38% respectively). The extent of unpaid work varies by contract type, with 58% of radio freelancers having worked unpaid, compared with 39% of radio employees.

The average income received by the TV workforce is £36,300. It is highest within broadcast TV where the average reported income is £37,700. The cable and satellite workforce has an average income of £36,700 and the independent production average stands at £34,600. Permanent employees in the TV industry have a higher average income than those working as freelancers (averages of £37,600 and £33,600 respectively).

Source: Skillset AACS LMI report 2010 and Skillsfast-UK AACS LMI report 2010, Animation Labour Market Intelligence Digest 2009, Computer Games Labour Market Intelligence 2010, Facilities Labour Market Intelligence 2009, Film Labour Market Intelligence Digest 2010, Interactive Media Labour Market Intelligence 2009, Photo Imaging Labour Market Intelligence Digest 2009, Radio Labour Market Intelligence Digest 2009 and TV Labour Market Intelligence Digest 2009

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Occupational roles and sources of information

Creative Skillset Sector Skills Council has a dedicated careers section of their website. It has a range of information on how to get started in the sector, how to get on and progress and how to access personal advice. There is also a section on find relevant courses by region.

The National Careers Service website has detailed occupational profiles for some occupations in the arts, crafts and design and performing arts, broadcast and media sectors. These profiles include information on entry points, training, working environment, employment opportunities and expected annual salary.

The Graduate Prospects website (a graduate careers website) includes information on broad sectors including: media and creative arts. Each includes information on: job roles entry and progression; typical employers; opportunities abroad; future trends; case studies; plus a list of contacts and resources.

Careersbox has films of those working in the creative and media sector, including: marketing programme coordinator; production & marketing assistant; general manager (theatre); artists award; location sound recordist; and make-up artist. Films are from those already working in the sector giving an insight into what it is like and what their role involves.

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