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Careers in the creative industries

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Are you considering a creative career? Do you wonder what it’s really like to work in the creative industries? This sector can offer you an exciting and varied career, where no day is the same and creative thinking is actively encouraged. Employers in the creative industries are looking for people with multifaceted skills, who are innovative, imaginative and have original ideas to bring the table. If this sounds like you, read on to find out more about the industry and discover the creative careers available to you...

Creative job roles

So, what are the creative industries? And what kind of jobs are out there? 

The creative industries are made up of a wide range of professions, from creative arts and culture, music and performance, the screen industries, and everything in between. There are so many creative job roles up for grabs and there’s something to suit everyone’s career goals. Some of the creative jobs you could consider include:

  • Fine Artist
  • Curator
  • Photographer
  • Designer (Graphics, Illustration, Fashion, Games, Animation, Interiors)
  • Journalist
  • Musician
  • Writer (creative writing, poetry, nonfiction, scriptwriting, screen writing, marketing and communications)
  • Broadcaster (TV, Radio, Podcasting)
  • Producer (Film, TV, Stage, Radio, Podcasting)
  • Director (Film, TV, Radio, Stage)
  • Social Media Manager
  • Actor
  • PR specialist

Check out our student stories and staff profiles to learn more about the creative professions our graduates, lecturers and technicians have undertaken.

Be part of a growing industry

According to a report by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, the creative sector is growing more than five times faster than the national economy and contributed more than £111bn to the UK economy in 2018. What’s more, a recent DCMS estimate suggests there were 4.2million total filled jobs in the DCMS sectors from October 2020 to September 2021. The sector with the most jobs filled in this period? The creative industries, at 2.3million.

Finding work in a thriving industry can only be a good thing – this means more jobs, better opportunities for career progression and even higher salaries, as roles are in greater demand. If you were concerned about the career prospects for creative jobs, these kinds of statistics will hopefully put your mind at ease.

Enjoy flexible, portfolio career

While it is absolutely possible to find a full-time creative job in a large organisation, working regular hours, a lot of people working in creative professions enjoy the benefits of a flexible, portfolio career, offering various workplaces their skills and talents on a freelance basis. A lot of jobs in the creative sector work this way; for example, a magazine or newspaper may commission a piece from a freelance writer or journalist, while a lot of films and TV shows employ their cast and crew for a specific production, where time on set and in post-production varies depending on the role. If you find the idea of regularly working somewhere new with a different team of people exciting, the flexibility of a creative career could be for you.

Do a job you love!

We’ve all heard the old saying, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” Your career is a big part of your life, taking up a large proportion of your time, so if you are able to make that choice, you might as well choose something you enjoy! Most people find the opportunity to be creative in their job really fulfilling, so a career in the creative sector is the perfect way to achieve a rewarding work life.

Many of our graduates work in roles they love, including Chris Lavelle who studied BA (Hons) Graphic Design. He says, “I work full-time as a graphic designer, which I really enjoy and have my personal projects to push my creativity and up the ante for my day job. I’m very lucky to have my own freelance studio, ldistudios, where I can basically choose what I wish to work on. I love that.”

How we prepare you for a creative career

Here at the University of Sunderland, we aim to give you the best chance to break into the creative industries after graduation. While you study, you’ll be able to take advantage of multiple opportunities that will enhance your employability, from work experience and placements, live projects and commissions, and opportunities to network with industry leaders. Some examples include:

Art and Design

Get involved with live briefs and projects for real-life clients through the Sunderland Creatives Agency. Whether you’re a graphic designer, photographer, illustrator, animator or writer, the agency is a chance for you to gain valuable work experience and build your contacts. You’ll also get opportunities to exhibit your work in public spaces, providing you with experience of critically selecting and showcasing work and how to fund exhibition spaces.


You’ll be introduced to an extensive network of professional contacts, from actors, directors, agents and casting directors. They will share their knowledge and experiences with you, supporting you to make your mark as a performer and producer. Benefit from sessions including a Commedia Dell'arte masterclass, vocals, creative writing, dance techniques, circus skills and drag artistry. You’ll even learn how to pitch ideas and complete funding applications, so you’re industry-ready after graduation.

Film and Media

As a Film and Media student, not only will you work alongside staff who are experts in their field, using our fantastic production facilities (including our new Virtual Production facilities), you’ll develop and pitch ideas to industry practitioners and undertake work experience opportunities. Our students have worked with the BBC, Capital FM, Sunderland AFC and Tyne Tees Television, and participated in masterclasses delivered by Lord David Puttnam and Leo Pearlman (Fulwell 73).

Journalism and Communications

You’ll be able to publish work from day one in the mediaHUB and write for our student publications, including Fashion North and SportsByte. You could also get involved with our community radio station, Spark Sunderland, if broadcasting is more your thing. Take advantage of real-world media opportunities and gain experience in PR, copywriting and social media via the Sunderland Creatives Agency.

Start your creative career journey

Become part of the creative industries by studying a creative degree course. We offer a range of courses here at the University of Sunderland, with subjects including Art and Design, English, Journalism and Communications, Film and Media and Performance. Learn more through our course pages or join us at our next Open Day.

Published: 16 December 2022