Location, Location, Location: The Best Place in the UK for Creative Workers

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Despite facing two years of demanding circumstances at the hands of the pandemic, many creative businesses throughout the UK have managed to adapt and thrive. With the sector remaining a desirable field for creative workers, we’ve investigated the best places to work in the UK within the creative industry for those setting their sights on their next exciting career move.

Where is the Creative Industry Heading?

Although the UK creative industry was faced with a myriad of challenges over the course of the pandemic, 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. Additionally, by this time, the industry is expected to grow by 26%, contribute 132.1 billion to the economy in Gross Value Added and create 300,000 new jobs according to Oxford Economics. 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 34.5% since 2011.

What Kind of Salary Can you Expect with a Creative Role?

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

Senior £42,768
Intermediate £36,477
Junior £23,931

(Check-a-Salary)

According to Glassdoor, the national average salary for a creative job role is £36,829 in the UK, indicating that the sector remains lucrative, therefore, employees within the field can look forward to an impressive salary. 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.

Average Salary in the UK By Creative Agency-Based Role

Job Title Salary Average (Agency) Salary Min-Max (Agency)
Junior Designer £25k

 

£23-28k
Mid-Weight Designer £35k

 

£30-40k
Senior Designer £55k

 

£45-55k
Junior Creative Team £28k

 

£25-30k
Mid-Weight Creative Team £35k

 

£35-45k
Senior Creative Team £55k

 

£50-65k
Design Director/Head of Design £60k

 

£55-65k
Associate Creative Director £75k

 

£60-85k
Creative Director £90k

 

£80-100k
Executive Creative Director £130k

 

£110-145k
Junior Copywriter £26k

 

£25-30k
Mid-Level Copywriter £37k

 

£35-45k
Senior Copywriter £55k

 

£50-65k
Head of Copy £70k £65-80k

(The Major Players 2021 Salary Survey Report)

Salary data from the Major Players 2021 Salary Survey Report reveals that even junior roles within an agency setting such as Junior Designer and Junior Copywriter average at over £24k per annum. As expected, the highest-earning role in a creative agency workplace is Executive Creative Director, with the average salary in the UK sitting at a staggering £130k, followed by Creative Director (£90k) and Associate Creative Director (75k) respectively.

Additional high earning roles within the creative field according to the average salary include Design Director/Head of Design and Head of Copy with salaries of £60k and £70k respectively.

Average Salary in the UK by in House Creative Role

Job Role Salary Average (Agency) Salary Min-Max (Agency)
Junior Designer £25k £23-25k
Mid-Weight Designer £32k £28-35k
Senior Designer £45k £40-50k
Design Director £55k £50-60k
Creative Director £80k £70-85k

(The MajorPlayers 2021 Salary Survey Report)

Interestingly, when it comes to in house creative roles, the numbers are vastly different. For instance, Creative Directors earn £80k on average as opposed to £90k in agency settings and Senior Designers also earn £10k less at in house organisations, receiving an average salary of £45k, which demonstrates the enhanced earning potential of opting for an agency-based role.

The Highest Paying Areas in the UK Revealed

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

Location Salary
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

(Check-a-Salary, Retail Choice)

Following analysis of the current salary data, Solopress have ranked the 7 highest paying cities when it comes to working in the creative industry within the UK.

Unsurprisingly, London made 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. Although being 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

Immersed in architectural beauty, a world-famous arts and music scene, a myriad of new and innovative businesses, creative training initiatives and employment opportunities, London certainly lives up to its reputation of being a leading creative capital city.

The city’s arts industry generated £58 billion for the national economy in 2019, further demonstrating the power of London’s creative sector. Prior to the pandemic, the creative sector supported one in every six jobs in the city and remains one of London’s fastest-growing sectors today.

Soho is one of London’s creative centres.

Moreover, the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, recently announced that the Government will be deploying £1.3m of new investment in programmes to support creative jobs and training through his Creative Enterprise Zones (CEZs) in Croydon, Lambeth and Lewisham.

  1. Manchester

Boasting a thriving creative community with Media City and 9,000 creative and technology companies, generating GVA of £3.8 billion annually, 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 booming 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.

Pre-pandemic data revealed that the creative sector in Manchester, encapsulating areas from publishing to film, TV, design and more was growing faster than any other region in the UK apart from London. However, even following the negative impact of the pandemic and living with restrictions, MediaCityUK in Salford has been identified as having the potential to accelerate the region’s recovery as the BBC make plans to boost staff levels to over 3,500.

  1. Edinburgh

Edinburgh’s creative industries have been a force to be reckoned with for a number of years. In 2019, employment in the Creative Industries growth sector was highest in Glasgow City (22,140) and City of Edinburgh (19,075), which comprised 24.6% and 21.2% of employment in this sector respectively.

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.

  1. 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. Pre-pandemic, the city was even named the top cultural and creative centre of the UK in a report from the European Commission due to the city’s cultural participation and tolerance.

Ashton Lane in Glasgow’s popular West End.

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.

  1. 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 job openings attributed to the sector. Additionally, Liverpool City Region employs around 19,000 people in 3,500 companies, with many of them based in the Baltic Triangle, the city’s creative hub with multiple start-ups and studies.

  1. 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.

  1. Newcastle Upon Tyne

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!


Put yourself on the map

Although predictably London takes the top spot for the best place to work in the UK within the creative industry based on salary, it’s 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.