Creativity, culture, cash and a crisis

Why the creative industry needs you!

By Jenni Evans, founder at Represent Creative

In the current education system, creative subjects can be overlooked. Maybe you’ve noticed it yourself - time and energy is invested in students who are planning on attending prestigious universities by placing them on fast track or ‘excel’ courses; countless sessions and resources aimed at those who dream of a career in law, medicine or other ‘academic’ professions.

As a student who doesn’t fit into these parameters, it can be seriously alienating, and it’s affecting people across the country. We’re here to tell you that creativity is valuable - both financially and culturally - and you should be excited to pursue a career in the creative sector.

A Prosperous Career Path with Less Competition Than Ever Before

Creative industries make up over 6% of the workforce in the UK (around 2 million people) and bring over £100bn in Gross Value Added (GVA) into the economy every year.

The growth of technology means there are many new roles, services and businesses popping up and growing at pace, in fact creative industries are growing at twice the rate of the UK economy, but the pipeline of talent can’t keep up.

If this is all coming as a surprise to you, you’re not alone: 84% of businesses agree that young people are unaware of the breadth of career paths available in the creative and cultural sector

And it’s not just students who are feeling the negative impacts of all this. Over a third of businesses agree that there aren’t enough young people studying arts & creative subjects in school.

So if we can feel it, and businesses are feeling it, why isn’t more being done to combat this issue? And why are young people being dissuaded from taking arts subjects in higher education - with numbers falling by 30% between 2010 and 2018?

Maybe it’s because there’s a perception that creative careers can’t be financially prosperous - I can’t count the amount of people I know who have been told they should leave their creative ambitions at school and get a ‘real job’.

Except… that’s a lie. 59% of businesses believe that design can contribute substantially to business improvement and there is money to be made. For example, the average advertised salary for jobs in digital tech in the UK is £51k.

Creativity can help you stand out from the crowd (of robots)

Every single career in the world could use some creative thinking to make it better.

During the coronavirus crisis, businesses worldwide will have valued the creative thinkers on their team who are able to problem solve and find new solutions to issues that have arisen - 60% of large global organisations have identified new processes that they might use post-outbreak.

Also, with the increase of AI and automation, creative skills are what sets us apart from those pesky robots. Being creative is a surefire way of future-proofing your career.

The inseparable bond of creativity and culture

Not only is there a myth that creative careers aren't economically valuable, there is a fundamental lack of understanding in the value of creative jobs and their impact on culture.

A report by the Creative Industries, states

“there is an increasing emphasis on courses that offer strong economic returns, without recognising wider value of creativity and culture.”

Theatre, film, art, TV, design (the list goes on) brings people together. It brings feeling to people’s lives. It is what most people spend their time doing when they are NOT at work.

In simpler terms, the impact that creative skills have on the day-to-day lives of us humans is huge. And ultimately, it’s hard to put a price on that isn’t it?

The pandemic proof

Living in lockdown, in a coronavirus world, we’re stripped back to the basics, refocusing our energy to what matters most - it’s interesting to think about what people have reached out for.

  • Music has brought people together, the BBC have created a national sing-a-long to thank key workers every week.

  • One in three people in the UK have TikTok on their phone – people are finding creative ways to keep each other entertained.

  • We’re binge-watching TV – Thinkbox have reported an increase of almost 30% in TV consumption. Streaming services like Netflix have become a part of our daily narrative, with Tiger King being watched by 34 million people in the first 10 days alone.

  • The growing trend for basic creative outlets like colouring in has boomed, with brands (like Mercedes and Audi) creating colouring in sheets and children are proudly showcasing their expressions of thanks as creations in their windows.

  • Those of us who are staying home to save lives, might be hunkering down and spending time relaxing with a cup of tea (who designed the mug?).

  • Reading a book (a creative person wrote that).

  • Or like me, partaking in a bit of self care and treating yourself to a hair mask (I am always thankful for the copywriter for Aussie hair products).

So remember, when you’re on a Netflix binge, sipping from your favourite mug, reading a new book, enjoying a podcast or music – a creative person made that happen. Wouldn’t it be a shame if they hadn’t?

The creative industry needs you! If you seem to be facing barriers to progressing your creativity at school, college or university, we are here to help. Get in touch if you need some advice or encouragement.

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