The sector is growing
The creative industries is the fastest growing sector in the economy. Employment in the creative industries grew by 30.6% between 2011 and 2018. There are more people working in the creative industries than in financial services.
What’s more, jobs in the creative industries are more future-proof than in other sectors. There are expected to be 900,000 new jobs in the sector by 2030. While other industries are at risk of their jobs being replaced by automation, the creative industries are relatively secure with a huge 87% of creative jobs at low or no risk of automation.
A lot of work in the industries is project-based. This means the funding is for a particular project, like producing a film or acting in a play. Many people in the creative industries are therefore paid on a project or short-contract basis and so are self-employed, rather than having a permanent job.
However, this varies hugely from industry to industry.
In advertising and architecture, you are more likely to be employed rather than self-employed. Within the games industry, 84 per cent of workers are on the payroll of a company with only 16 per cent working freelance.
By contrast, many artists and craftspeople are freelance. They build their careers through a variety of different activities, including selling their work, writing articles and giving talks about their techniques.
Just because you are self-employed, it doesn’t mean you can't enjoy a good, steady career. Many freelancers are hired consecutively by the same company and have to turn down work because they have too much.
However, in many creative industries, it's important to have business skills as well as craft skills. If you do, you can earn a good, and sometimes very good, living within the creative industries.
ScreenSkills has created a freelance toolkit explaining how to be freelance in the screen industries. If you are interested in a career in any of the creative industries, then do read it. Most of it applies to any creative sector.