While it is important for you to decide what job you would like to do within the creative field, it might also help to know exactly how the cultural industry is recruiting and what are the work trends for it.
Obviously, this is not an exact science and trends might change with the economy, but it is beneficial when planning ahead, particularly if you intend to do a course that is two or three years long.
A GROWING INDUSTRY
The cultural industry is the fastest growing industry in the UK, and it is set to grow even further. It employs over 500,000 people and is expected to grow by another 200,000 peo-ple in the next five years or so.
Employers have identified some skills gap, both in their current workforce and in potential employees. However, while about a quarter of employers have indicated a distinct lack in I.T. skills, it is very interesting to note how, instead, the majority of missing skills can be found in that pool of transferable skills which was mentioned earlier: for example, leader-ship, professionalism, business and negotiation skills are in need. That goes to show that, despite all the ‘technical’ training that a person can go through and the creative flair some-one might have, it is important to work on all those other skills that employers value so much.
EMPLOYED VERSUS FREELANCE
It is worth mentioning that around a fifth of all the people working in the creative industries at present is employed on a freelance: this is an important factor to take into consideration. Working freelance has its advantages: for example, you are free to choose the amount of work you want to do and when you want to do it, as well as being free to choose to do tasks you are more interested in; you are also able to charge more or less what you want for your work, depending on your experience (in fact this is even more relevant to this par-ticular industry, as creativity does not really have a price as such).
On the other hand, though, working freelance means that any compensation you receive is before tax and N.I. contributions: it might look like a lot as soon as it gets to your bank ac-count, but it might not actually be as much once you have paid anything owed to Inland Revenue and Customs. Going freelance also means that you might be very busy one month, but not be working much the next month: this requires a great deal of planning and careful budgeting and it might not be for everyone, particularly if you crave the security of a full time job.
It might be worth thinking about going freelance perhaps when you have managed to build a good portfolio of work and experience, which you might have to show to prospective em-ployers anyway, in order to get that coveted job.
A longer and more detailed version of the figures and numbers given here is available at www.guidance-research.org/future-trends/arts: take some time to visit the website and look in particular at the sector that might interest you.