Busting the myths on careers for creatives


Creativity is more than an endearing personality trait listed on a CV or a way to relax when we’re stressed. In the world of work, creativity is a pragmatic and sought-after skill. In fact, the World Economic Forum listed creativity as one of the top ten skills needed to thrive career-wise in 2020. Creativity allows a person to see the world from different perspectives, to find unique solutions to problems and to come up with ideas that can change brands and businesses in meaningful ways. 

From a career perspective, creativity is an incredibly useful skill in almost every work environment. However, creatives often find themselves pigeon-holed to certain jobs that are considered better suited to their ‘artsy’ abilities, and are constantly told that their tendency toward ‘right-brain thinking’ means they’ll be better off pursuing conventionally-creative careers (art, fashion, etc).

The changing world of work

The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) is fast becoming a buzz term among industry thought leaders and pacemakers, who have offered insights and predictions of how technology will change the future world of work. From smart phone technology that is constantly setting new benchmarks in innovation, to breakthroughs in emerging technologies like artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things (IoT), 4IR has caused and unprecedented level of disruption across industries.

As industries evolve and new ones emerge, the world of work is changing too, and is now calling for different set of skills. After Complex Problem Solving and Critical Thinking, Creativity will become one of the top three skills that workers need by 2020. While machines and robots may be able to complete a task faster, there is no machine that can match the unique perspective and skill that a creative human being can bring to the table.

The world needs more creatives – not just for the purpose of making it more beautiful and more interesting, but to help solve its biggest challenges and propel industries forward in meaningful ways.

Getting creative for success

Particularly as we enter a new and unprecedented professional landscape, creatives are in high demand in a variety of sectors and positions. In fact, creativity is a skill that offers an edge over competitors – whether you’re applying for a job or looking to start your own venture.

Entrepreneurs with creative flair are undeniably better positioned to run successful businesses. Consider the challenges involved in running a business – from making tough decisions to managing people, all while trying to build a profitable enterprise. It takes someone with creativity, who is able to see a problem from different angles and find solutions that no one else can think of, to achieve that. 

In the same way, employees need creativity as a skill in order to thrive in their jobs and contribute ideas and work of substance. Employers are searching for candidates who can do more than just adequately complete the tasks they’re given. They want sharp thinkers who can bring new and interesting perspectives to the table to solve problems and execute briefs in an excellent and outstanding way.

Some of the many career avenues open to a creative include creative direction (a position that is increasingly available internally in corporate environments too), strategic planning, communications, marketing, and so much more. There are many misconceptions around what it means to be creative, the most problematic of which is that people often believe that creativity limits a person’s career prospects.

We encourage creative students and parents of creatives to consider all their options when it comes to choosing what to study to ensure they get a well-rounded mix of skills and insight into their fields, whether they want design games and apps, climb the corporate ladder or start an NGO.

Shevon Lurie is the Managing Director at Vega (a brand of The Independent Institute of Education – The IIE).