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Creative and Media

The Job Market



  • The industry is mainly made up of small businesses, with lots of self employment
  • There are opportunities for designers throughout the UK, especially in large cities and towns, but a large proportion are based in London.   
  • Many craft workers, artists and illustrators have a second non-creative job to boost their earnings  
  • The majority of goldsmiths/silversmiths employers are based in London, Birmingham, Sheffield, Glasgow and Edinburgh.
  • Employers or organisations that commission freelance technical illustrators include scientific or technical publishers, advertising agencies and broadcasting agencies, multimedia and web publishers, as well as architects, engineering firms and manufacturers. Many technical illustrators are self employed or work freelance.
  • Product designers work in a huge range of manufacturing sectors. New entrants may face strong competition for their first job, but demand for experienced designers with a thorough understanding of technology is high.
  • People in the industry are often highly qualified - over half the workers have at least a level 4 qualification


  • The largest proportion of creative and media workers are based in the South East followed by the North West of England
  • The UK publishing industry (which includes books, magazines, publishing on the internet and business directories) is the second largest in Europe, after Germany - there are an enormous range of magazine titles but whether this can be maintained is uncertain
  • According to UK Trade & Investment, the UK also has one of the most advanced digital media industries - it is Europe's leading market for take up of digital TV services - and it is Europe's largest market for MP3 players, video games and digital media downloads
  • Much of the workforce is comparatively young (under 35) and highly qualified but it is difficult for school and college leavers to get a foot in the door
  • Film studios and production companies tend to be based in London and the South East, though one of the best known is in Bristol (Aardman Animations)
  • London is still the main base for TV and radio companies although opportunities are increasing in other parts of the country (as the BBC, for instance, moves more and more of its operations to Salford). The TV industry relies on freelance workers
  • Most interactive media designers work for graphic design, advertising, marketing and communications agencies, and for software developers or publishers. It is a fast-growing industry and skilled designers are in demand, but competition is fierce.
  • With all the technologies changes occurring in the media industries, staff need to be adaptable and willing to learn new skills


  • Most actors and entertainers are self employed and most of those who find work have to supplement their income with other jobs  
  • Although much of the acting and music work is found in London (thanks to its large supply of theatres and music venues and orchestras), large towns and cities often have a variety of arts venues (offering paid and voluntary opportunities) 
  • Lighting technicians are mainly employed by theatres, concert venues, television and video production companies, film producers and facilities companies. Lighting for special events, road shows and rock concerts is a growth area. Many specialist companies employ freelance lighting technicians on a contract basis.
  • Much of the profession also work on short term contracts, such as make up artists (who may be employed to work on a television series or film) and stage managers (who may work on one theatre production) - the greater the range of skills, and the better a person can adapt their personality and fit in, the greater the chance that they will be employed again.
  • Competition is strong for all areas of the industry but especially so for prospective music promotions managers and others in the music business - social networking sites can be useful for music managers to discover the next big thing