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Why work in the creative sector?

Home / Student experience / Discover Sunderland / Arts and Creative Industries / Why work in the creative sector?

Are you considering a creative degree but aren’t sure about the career prospects? Do you wonder what it’s really like to work in the creative industries and what kind of jobs you could apply for after graduation? The creative sector can offer you an exciting and varied career, where often no day is the same and creative thinking is actively encouraged. And in a world where the multi-hyphenate is celebrated, employers within the creative sector are looking for multifaceted people who are innovative, imaginative and able to bring original ideas to the table. If this sounds like you, read on to find out why you should work in the creative sector...

A student carrying a camera over their shoulder while walking through a TV studio

There’s a wide range of creative roles

You may be wondering, what kind of careers are out there in the creative sector? There are so many creative roles up for grabs and there’s something to suit everyone’s career goals. Some of the roles you could consider include:

  • Fine Artist
  • Photographer
  • Designer (Graphics, Illustration, Fashion, Games, Animation)
  • Journalist
  • Writer
  • Broadcaster (TV and Radio)
  • Producer (Film, TV and Radio)
  • Director (Film, TV, Radio and Stage)
  • Social Media Manager
  • Actor

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

The creative industries are an area of growth

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.

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 after a creative degree, these kinds of statistics will hopefully put your mind at ease.

Flexible, portfolio careers

While it is absolutely possible to find a full-time creative job in a large organisation, working regular hours, a lot of creatives 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.


Our Performance students are introduced to our extensive network of professional contacts, who will share their experiences with you and support you to build your network. Performing Arts students will work with visiting companies and professional performers, including Opera North, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Live Theatre; Newcastle, Dell A’Mimi Circus Training and The Stand Comedy, while Screen Performance students will study alongside actors, directors, agents, casting directors and independent film makers.

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, 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.

Apply today

Start your journey in the creative sector by applying for a creative degree today. We offer a range of courses here at the University of Sunderland, with subjects including Art and Design, English, Journalism and PR, Media and Performing Arts. Learn more through our course pages or join us at our next Open Day.

Published: 27 May 2022