Jan 25, 2013

Creative jobs: maybe that arts degree isn’t so useless after all

Worried about a career in the arts? It's not as bad as you may think. Journalists and printers may be on the scrap heap, but there are more artists employed than ever according to new data.

Ben Eltham — <em>Crikey</em> arts commentator

Ben Eltham

Crikey arts commentator

New census data on Australia’s cultural and creative industries allows us to peer inside a dynamic sector for the first time in five years. And the news is generally good.

Australia’s creative and cultural employment is growing faster than employment in the rest of the economy. In some particularly fast-growing sectors — creative services like design, photography and digital content — employment growth is three times faster than the broader workforce.

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4 thoughts on “Creative jobs: maybe that arts degree isn’t so useless after all

  1. alex.rosser

    One again we see “arts degree” and “useless” in the same headline, albiet an article which tries to apply meal-ticket attributes to an arts degree.

    I divide university degrees into two sorts. There are the meal-ticket ones such as medicine, law,, dentistry, commerce etc. and there are the ones which hope to actually educate the student. Arts of course, but also science and economics. Engineering has a foot in both camps.

    My strong advice to any fresher is to get educated first, and only then think about a meal-ticket.

  2. Tim nash

    I have mixed feelings about this article, it is fantastic there is growth in design but is there growth in salaries?

    A quick glance shows that an educated designer professional less than your average trades assistant in a factory.

    Creativity is undervalued.

    Alex I totally agree with you, originally studying what we now know as the ‘arts’ was essential to be a thinking intellectual. Studying Plato, Aristotle and Greek thinkers and to be able to discourse in the finer details of philosophy was what is was all about.

    I guess your average punter who hasn’t gone to university views an arts degree as a fine arts degree (ie painting or sculpture). This is the Australian view of the ‘bludger’ comes in again.

  3. pedro

    Employabilty with an Arts degree depends on your area of specialisation.

    I am a design industry professional. Jumped from magazine publishing to PR recently (magazine publishing, corporate design, advertising and multimedia)

    PR is a real growth industry. There will still be a place for trade or industry specific mags in the near future, but retail magazines on paper are a dying breed.

    The magazine publisher I recently left is desperately trying to catch up electronically by expanding to iPad versions and the like, but they only charge a premium for advertisers for publishing online. It’s a ‘value-add’ sweetener to get advertisers to publish in the print version.

    Now the problem is that advertisers baulk at the prospect of paying full price for online-only. Publishers shot themselves in the foot from the beginning, only seeing the internet as a supplement to their industry.

    As time goes on, magazines will go exclusively online, shrivel further and then fail, one after the other, as the revenues dry up.

  4. Dogs breakfast

    I tend to agree a.rosser, although not sure I would lump economics in with the arts and science group. I would also suggest that of the sciences, it is really only maths and it’s offshoots that are really educative in that traditional ‘arts’ idea. Maths and philosophy are kindred spirits.

    Universities have long since given over to vocational training in Australia in particular, and the world in general. However there was an interesting article in yesterday’s business smh regarding UK being much more open to traditional arts-type degrees for business positions, as opposed to the relatively closed school of vocational degrees only in Australia.

    On the other hand, there are no degrees which teach creativity, in my opinion, just as no degree teaches what I refer to as analysis. Mind you, philosophy is probably as close as a degree comes to teaching analysis, by inference. I just don’t think that either analysis or creativity can be taught, however they may be acquired!
    I am still ever hopeful that recruiters will start to value the quality of the thinking rather than the cookie-cutter vocational degree, but I live in a rather naive world. 🙂

    Take a look at the vast majority of graduates in the workplace. The quality of their thinking is not the over-riding characteristic that comes to mind, leading to the observation that universities don’t actually teach thinking these days, if they ever did!

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