Posted 09 October 2019

Money, skills, working culture: What’s the state of creative work in 2019?

As you might know, every six months we publish an insight report that aims to shed light on some of the big issues affecting students, early-years creatives and their employers. For our fourth report, we’ve decided to take a closer look at a number of factors influencing creative careers, pulling out the ideas, campaigns and policy changes you need to know about. Lecture in Progress Members can now download this report here. If you’re not a Member yet, you can do so here for free. Read on for an idea of what to expect!

In our second investigation into the landscape of creative careers, we’ve gone deep into the most important news stories of the past year, to bring you some of the vital conversations happening in the world of work. The most recurring and urgent themes that arose from these news stories have then become the basis for the report, entitled The State of Work.

The report itself is divided into three main topics: Money, Working Culture and Skills, drawing from news reports, case studies and surveys, as well as featuring interviews with experts and creatives experiencing some of these pressing matters first-hand.

The continued push for gender equality and fair pay for freelancers

In many areas there’s scope for optimism. In our Money section, you’ll read interviews with Paul Uppal MP (the government’s Small Business Commissioner) and Freelancer Club’s Matt Dowling about how industry professionals and politicians are coming together to challenge some of the worst payment practices and fighting for the rights of new graduates, freelancers and SMEs [small and medium-sized enterprises] alike.

While the gender pay gap prevails, some leading creative businesses have made huge advances. We look into how one such business, digital studio ustwo, reduced its gap from 13% to -4.28%, through practices that range from pushing for a 50/50 gender split in the recruitment process, to company-wide bias training for all managers.

How do we achieve efficiency that won’t burn you out?

In our Working Culture section, you can find a discussion on one of the most talked-about topics of the year: the four-day week. The 4 Day Week Campaign’s Aidan Harper fills us in on the philosophical thinking behind the growing movement, as well as answering some criticism; while Ellen Rhodes of London studio Normally reveals the practical side of implementing shorter working hours, and its effect on young creatives.

Further afield, Elisabeth Schulze of Berlin design agency Colors And The Kids talks to us about how plans to make the option to work from home mandatory in Germany will affect their business, while from New York, FKTRY founder Jules Ehrhardt talks about the potentially detrimental effects of the rise in remote working – especially for those just starting out.

Adapting to a shifting industry and opening access

The promise and threat of automation looms large over recent discussions around skills, but according to a new report, 87% of creative jobs will remain unscathed by advances in technology. In our Skills section, the Creative Industries Federation’s Lydia Wakefield talks to us about how students and graduates can prepare for an unpredictable future, and Partnership for Young London’s Matthew Walsham discusses how we can open up routes into creative work, increasing diversity and broadening reach.

Written by Creative Lives in Progress