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The best places to work in the UK as a creative

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The creative industry continues to retain its reputation as a vibrant sector that has demonstrated immense fortitude against the ever-evolving challenges of the pandemic. But there is a reason why so many creatives continue to flock to the big cities to make a living for themselves, even in these times of normalised remote working. 

To underline this fact, the Print and Design experts Solopress investigated the best place to work in the UK within the creative industry for those ready to take their next professional steps.

The UK Creative Industry at a Glance

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Despite the UK creative industry facing difficulties at the hands of coronavirus, economic experts remain optimistic about the future for creative workers, predicting that the sector will recover from the pandemic faster than the UK economy as a whole by 2025. Recent findings from UK Parliament also indicate that now could be the time to pursue a future in the creative sector, as the number of jobs has increased by a solid 34.5% since 2011.

What Kind of Salary is Expected from a Creative Role?

Average Salary in the UK for a Creative Role by Experience Level

Senior - £42,768

Intermediate - £36,477

Junior - £23,931

Glassdoor cites that the national average salary for a creative job role is £36,829 in the UK, indicating that the sector remains lucrative and that employees can look forward to a healthy salary should they opt for a creative career path. Current data reveals that the average salary for creative workers with a junior experience level is £23,931 and understandably higher at £42,768 for those with a more senior experience level.

The Highest-Paying Areas in the UK

The Top 8 Highest-Paying Cities for Creative Roles in the UK

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  1. London - £43,472
  2. Manchester - £37,499
  3. Edinburgh - £35,889
  4. Glasgow - £33,912
  5. Liverpool - £33,903
  6. Birmingham - £33,197
  7. Newcastle upon Tyne - £32,732

After analysing current salary data, Solopress determined the 7 highest-paying cities when it comes to working in the creative industry within the UK

Unsurprisingly, the beloved capital city hit the top spot with an average salary of £43,472, with the Northern Powerhouse Manchester coming in second with a competitive £37,499 per annum. 

At the lower end of the list offering £32,732 per annum on average, Newcastle upon Tyne nonetheless offers a £2 billion+ industry employing over 40,000 people in 3,000 creative and digital businesses -definitely one to watch in terms of openings in the creative sector.

1. London

If being surrounded by architectural beauty, a world-renowned arts and music scene and a series of new and innovative businesses isn’t enough to nurture a creative mind, then perhaps London’s creative training initiatives and vast employment opportunities will do the trick.

London certainly lives up to its reputation of being a leading creative capital city, with diverse up-and-coming talent from across the globe still flocking to the city. In London alone, the arts industry generated £58 billion for the national economy in 2019, further confirming the city’s status as a thriving creative hub. 

2. Manchester

Generating GVA of £3.8 billion annually, Manchester has everything a creative person needs for a thriving working life. As the home of Media City as well as 9,000 creative and technology companies, Manchester has made a name for itself as one of the UK’s most exciting corners for creatives looking to start their next chapter. 

The city is filled to the brim with innovative start-ups and small agencies, generating an influx of brand-new creative roles, in addition to being home to some of the biggest names in business, from Missguided to Google and the BBC.

3. Edinburgh

With exciting creative programmes designed to nurture future creative talent and bring the city’s world-class creative and technology sectors together such as Creative Informatics, Edinburgh offers the ideal location for people working in the creative sector to thrive.

Providing a myriad of career opportunities in arts, culture, media and design, the city is a hotspot for creative workers, offering an average salary of £35,889.

4. Glasgow

Another Scottish city that offers a world of excitement to individuals looking to excel in a creative career, Glasgow is filled to the brim with creative and innovative minds. The city was even named the top cultural and creative centre of the UK in 2019 in a report from the European Commission due to the city’s cultural participation and tolerance.

The job market is still booming in Glasgow in terms of creative roles and the city is home to 149 creative agencies for those looking to kickstart their career. 

5. Liverpool

Home of The Beatles, Liverpool is undoubtedly one of the UK’s most important cultural cities, encompassed in vibrancy, warmth and creativity. The economy of Liverpool is also one of the largest within the United Kingdom.

Liverpool plays a key role in the growth of creative and digital industries in the UK, with the city being home to the second fastest-growing digital cluster in the country. The city naturally offers creatives ample opportunity to find their dream job, with Indeed currently showing 509 jobs attributed to the sector

6. Birmingham

Greater Birmingham is another strong contender for the best city in the UK to work as a creative. The city boasts a vast, expanding creative economy that employs nearly 50,000 people and generates £4.1 billion Gross Value Added per annum, almost 9% of the total GVA of £46.8bn. 

Home to a vast advertising, marketing and design sector that encompasses web, product, fashion design, PR and data analysis, this city is one to watch if you’re looking for a long-term career in the creative space.

7. Newcastle Upon Tyne 

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Newcastle upon Tyne is a buzzing North East city that offers a world of possibilities for those working in the creative field. According to recent data, the city also has one of the UK’s fastest-growing technology sectors, offering more than 1,300 job opportunities.

Aside from ranking as the UK’s 7th highest-paying city for creative roles, Newcastle upon Tyne is renowned for being a hotspot for digital agencies, which is exciting news for anyone seeking a job in web development, digital marketing or design!

It’s not ALL about London

Although predictably London takes the top spot for the best place to work in the UK within the creative industry based on salary, it is clear that other cities such as Manchester and Edinburgh are quickly catching up, with many UK cities having a great deal to offer those working in the creative industry in terms of city culture and opportunities for progression. 

It is encouraging to see that the creative industries have overcome and adapted to challenges brought about by the pandemic – wherever you choose to work as a creative, it’s an exciting time for an industry that’s full of possibility.

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Header image by Scott Balmer

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