Is the Design industry broken?

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Posted by - Gavin


A recent report conducted by Create London found that creative workers are exclusive, with people from affluent backgrounds dominating the sector, and women and ethnic minorities facing hurdles to get jobs. With 41% of people surveyed indicated that they had completed unpaid internships early in their career. Create London found that unpaid labour was commonplace across the board of creative jobs, but that this is particularly high in design and advertising professions. Understandably, many creative workers can’t afford to work for free unless their parents are affluent enough to support them with accommodation, travel expenses and sustenance. And this can be a barrier to success, but not defining.

You can read the full report here

Can a designer succeed with hard work?

hardworking designerThe report looked at the creative industry as a whole, with the questioning focusing on how important, to each respondent, each of the below was in terms of getting ahead

– coming from a wealthy family;
– having well-educated parents;
– well educated;
– having ambition;
– hard work;
– knowing the right people;
– talent;
– ethnic group;
– gender;
– class;
– religion

The answers to these questions were then plotted on the below graph.

From this, there was a general consensus from the respondents that Meritocracy, working hard and never giving up, was the key to success. Some of these respondents believing that social reproduction, having a wealthy and connected network, was essential to success as a creative worker. This sounds like great news for graduates or those about to enter the creative industry. However, when you look at who these people knew you might say that these people were unaware of how their social position has influenced their own success.

Does it help to know people?young designer

The report asked people ‘which occupations do creative workers know? Interestingly, over 75% of these people knew a Lecturer, Artist or Graphic Designer. And over 65% of creative workers know a Journalist, Web designer and actor. In contrast, less than 30% of creative workers know a bus driver or postman. So when we say that the respondents ‘don’t want to accept’ that social reproduction has played an effect on their success, it’s because the overwhelming percentage of people questioned know people who could help them to succeed. Imagine if your family knew a university lecturer or Graphic designer. How much easier would it be to get your teenager adviceguidance and even some work experience? In ways that a bus driver or postman might not be able to provide their creative.

Starbots creative continue to invest in Staffordshire’s creative talent. If you’re interested, read our blog about our latest Graduate designer here.