How to make it in the creative industries: drink plenty and be privileged

A humorous new book from AnalogFolk and the Creative Mentor Network contains a very serious message: the creative industries are still too dominated by the middle classes. The proportion of people from lower socio-economic backgrounds has more than halved since the 1970s, falling from 16.4% to just 7.9%.

Alongside some cold hard facts about the industry, tongue-in-cheek advice is laid out for the aspirational: “The most important decisions aren’t made in the meeting room. They’re made in the pub. So, it is imperative that you are a drinker. In fact, skip all meetings and sit in the pub all day. Not a drinker? Then you’re not a team player.”

There’s also a riff on the lack of regional accents, which Alex Taylor, the acclaimed art director who featured in Channel 4’s Mad Women documentary, clearly didn’t listen to. She retains her heavy Geordie accent to this day.

Vicki Maguire has been writing about the class divide for Campaign, pointing out the 18.2% socio-economic pay gap. The Havas CCO learned many tricks of the trade, including the importance of storytelling, while selling stuff on the stalls of Leicester Market with her dad.

The Advertising Association backed this all up with its recent All In survey, which points out that 20% of the workforce is from a working class background compared to 40% of the UK population, while 19% of people in the industry attended a fee-paying school versus 8% in the general population.

Katie Thomson-Greene, MD of the Creative Mentor Network, said: “We understand this book may challenge people’s perspectives and make them feel uncomfortable. If that’s the case, it highlights that change needs to happen. We envision an industry that values individuality, creativity, and skill above nepotism and homogeneity. This book is a call to action for anyone who shares that vision.”

Colin Byrne, ECD, Europe at AnalogFolk said: “Creative industries can and should reflect our cultural landscape and the communities we live in. There’s a hotbed of undiscovered talent out there that’s not getting a look in or being considered properly. That’s why we’re so proud to work with CMN to highlight the importance of driving change.”

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