Where Are the UK's Best Media-Based Job Opportunities Located?
Are All The Best Media Jobs in London?
I’ve been running Mediamuppet as a media-based jobs and opportunities website for just over four years now, and one of the most common complaints I receive is that not enough job vacancies are listed from certain areas of the UK. A common observation is that the vast, overwhelming majority of media jobs seem to be situated in London.
Indeed, if you Google “TV jobs in the UK” then I can almost 100% guarantee that you will be inundated with London-based vacancies. This is great for Londoners, but not necessarily for everyone else.
Alas, common sense surely dictates that this London-centricity should come as no surprise to anyone. After all, London is a massive city with a population almost as great as that of Scotland and Wales combined. London is home to many of the major broadcasters, newspapers, production companies and publishers who dominate the UK media landscape. London is indisputably the media production capital of the United Kingdom.
Skillset research shows that:
- 550,000 people work in the UK media industry.
- Just over half of these people work in London and the immediately surrounding areas.
- About a third work in other English regions.
- Only 1 in 10 of the workforce are distributed throughout Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
So, If I Don’t Live in London… Am I Screwed?
Whilst London is undeniably the epicentre of media career opportunity, there are ample career avenues spread throughout the UK (albeit thinly), in most of the major cities.
Outside of London, the majority of opportunities tend to crop up in Manchester and Glasgow. A little further down the ladder, and you may find numerous jobs appearing on a fairly consistent basis in the likes of Newcastle, Cardiff, Belfast and Edinburgh.
Me? I live in Edinburgh. We get hardly any television/film production vacancies in this neck of the woods, nor is there much in the way of journalistic opportunity. Edinburgh is generally all about corporate video production, copywriting, public relations and online media (managing social media and content management systems for corporate clients).
Edinburgh is also home to the globally celebrated Rockstar North, who are like a revolving door of employment opportunity for individuals working in the video games industry.
Edinburgh-based media employment opportunities also tend to rise dramatically during the summer months, due to the various festivals which take place in the city. Personally, I commute to Glasgow most of the time for work stuff.
Elsewhere? Dundee is a great little city for folk who want to work in the video games industry. Bath is an excellent city for folk interested in specialised magazine journalism; primarily due to the fact that Future Publishing is based there (they produce a massive range of specialist interest magazines and websites, and have new job openings cropping up on a constant basis). Aberdeen is one of the primary bases of STV, and I’ve noticed that it tends to be home to numerous journalism-based opportunities as a result.
The general point to make here is that each city differs quite noticeably in terms of their ‘genetic media make-up.’ It is worth taking stock of where you live, what your ambitions are, and then researching in which areas of the UK your ambition may be best realised.
Jobs Seem Scattered. Should I Be Expecting to Travel Lots?
We’ve all been there, I’m sure. We see an awesome job opportunity for which we’d love to apply… and yet our heart sinks as we realise that the workplace is situated waaaaay on the other side of the country. It’s frustrating.
Indeed, I often receive Tweets from followers who say they’d love to apply for any given job vacancy, but they are deterred by the distance. My advice is almost always to apply anyway. If you live in Edinburgh and you see a fantastic job opportunity based in Glasgow, then the distance really is no excuse for not applying (so long as you’re suitable for the role, naturally).
Travelling is almost always something you should expect to have to do, especially if you are freelancing. This can be tricky for everyone, but especially for people who are looking for a mortgage, and other such adult things. I know a 3D animator who freelanced around America, Canada and the United Kingdom for over fifteen years. He made great money from it, but couldn’t get a mortgage. He ended up taking up a job as a University lecturer just for the sake of stability, and so he didn’t have to jump cities (or continents) every few years.
Most of us have responsibilities which bind us to a limited geographical area – we can’t just up sticks and move to another city just for the promise of six months paid work. However, all of the media industries in the UK are over-saturated with talent, and it may be the case that moving to a different city isn’t optional for many people, but in fact a necessity.
Over To You…
I’d be very interested to hear your thoughts, regardless of where you live in the UK. Have you jumped cities in order to further your career? Are you concerned about the lack of media career opportunities in your area? Any tips or additional observations which you think might be useful to your fellow Mediamuppets would be appreciated, and you can leave a comment below.