Survey paints picture of creative graduates

Newsletter articles

1 Sep 2010

Employment Studies Issue 12

Emma Pollard, Senior Research Fellow

Emma PollardGraduates of creative courses are well placed to ride out the recession, a new study has revealed. Led by University of the Arts London and conducted by IES, Creative Graduates Creative Futures is the largest ever survey of creative graduates’ career paths.

The report shows how creative graduates’ ingenuity and resourcefulness, and their valuing of creativity over wealth makes them well equipped to survive tough economic times. With 78 per cent of those surveyed working in the creative industries, which accounts for 6.4 per cent of the UK economy (NESTA, 2009), the survey also highlights the importance of highly qualified creative graduates to both the sector and the national economy.

Many creative graduates sustain a living through multiple income streams, simultaneously doing freelance, part-time, self-employed and portfolio work, often combined with further study to develop their skills. This flexible approach is essential for capitalising on the rapidly changing opportunities of the creative industries, and as more workers across all industries face an uncertain employment market, could become an increasingly popular way of working.

Three-quarters of working creative graduates are satisfied with their jobs, compared with a national average of just 44 per cent (SHL Global, 2009). This is in spite of comparatively low pay – one half of respondents earn £20,000 or less. As ‘a job for life’ becomes a thing of the past, creative graduates’ emphasis on personal fulfilment above financial reward, teamed with their entrepreneurial spirit, could be a new mantra for the modern workplace.

For more information on this work, please contact Emma Pollard at IES.