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Creative and Media




  • Fine artists have varying rates of earnings because the job is freelance. The Artists Information Company has useful information on calculating fees for artists. Only a few well-established artists earn enough to make a living from sales of their art alone. Most increase their earnings from a range of art-related jobs.
  • Goldsmiths/silversmiths may earn up to £10,000 a year as a new entrant, or apprentice, up to £15,000 for graduates. Highly experienced designers can earn £25,000, potentially reaching up to £50,000 a year. Earnings for freelance goldsmith/silversmith craft workers vary considerably, depending on sales.
  • Graphic designers may start at around £15,000 a year, and with experience earn up to around £30,000.Senior designers in a creative director role may earn over £50,000.
  • Technical illustrators, when fully qualified, may earn from £20,000 up to £25,000 a year. Experienced and specialist illustrators working in the scientific and medical fields can earn up to £40,000 a year.  Self-employed illustrators charge a fee for each illustration or project.
  • Product designers may start at between £17,000 and £25,000 a year. Experienced product designers may earn £30,000 to £40,000 a year.  Senior product designers and account directors with around ten years' experience can earn £50,000 or more. Freelance designers charge a daily rate or a price for the whole project.


  • Animators may earn from around £20,000 a year up to £30,000 with experience. Highly skilled animators may earn £40,000 or more a year.
  • Computer games designers may earn around £25,000 on starting. A lead designer may earn between £35,000 and £50,000.
  • Interactive media designers (e.g. web designer) may earn between £15,000 and £22,000 a year. The average salary for experienced interactive media designers is around £30,000. Highly experienced interactive media designers may earn more than £40,000.
  • Photographic technicians may earn from around £12,000 a year. With more experience, salaries may rise to between £15,000 and £25,000. Skilled, experienced technicians may earn up to £35,000 a year.
  • Publishing editors working as local newspaper editors and book editors may start on between £16,000 and £30,000 a year. Section editors on a national magazine or newspaper may earn up to £40,000. Experienced editors on national newspapers/magazines may earn over £80,000 a year.
  • Sound technicians may earn around £18,000 a year. With experience, this may rise to £25,000 or more a year.
  • TV/Film production assistants may earn around £15,000 a year. With experience, a production assistant's salary may rise to around £22,500. Senior production assistants may earn over £30,000.


  • The actors' union Equity negotiates minimum recommended rates.  Payments for TV and film actors depend on the importance of the part and the reputation and experience of the actor.  Only a small percentage of actors earn more than £30,000 per year from acting alone.
  • Entertainers in regular work may earn around £10,000 a year and, with experience, up to £20,000 a year. Well-established entertainers may earn over £30,000 a year. Most entertainers are self-employed and are paid fees per contract or performance.
  • Lighting technicians may start on about £10,000 a year up to £15,000 a year, and with experience could eventually rise to £25,000 a year.
  • Make-up artists may earn up to £15,000 a year and, with experience, £25,000 a year. A chief make-up artist may earn around £45,000 a year. However, most make-up artists work freelance and negotiate a fee per contract or project.
  • Music promotions managers may earn around £16,000 a year. Established promotions managers may earn from £20,000 to £40,000 a year. Top promotion managers may earn up to £100,000.
  • Popular musicians have minimum pay rates set by the Musicians' Union (MU) and  Equity (the performers' union). These are only applicable when working for an organisation that has agreed to pay these rates.
  • Stage managers may start on a salary of between £17,800 to £26,000 a year. Experienced and senior stage managers, especially on large productions, can earn £40,000 a year, or more. Many stage managers are freelance and are paid for each production or performance run.

Salary figures (Nov 2011) are mostly taken from the Next Step website, and are for guidance only because pay can depend on various factors, including location, qualifications and experience.