Careers Service Occupations

Media

Media

About

Sectors within media include film, television and radio. There are diverse career paths in each of these areas.

In 2016 there were an estimated 246,000 jobs in the UK in media, including the TV, film, radio and photography sector. The highest number of jobs were concentrated in London, the South East, the North West and Scotland. Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) Sectors Economic Estimates, July 2017.

Most businesses in the film industry are small, with 97% of film and video production workplaces employing 10 people or fewer in 2016. Working freelance is common in this sector, with 49% of people working as self-employed. British Film Institute (BFI), Employment in the Film Industry, August 2017. (PDF: 792KB). 

Overview

Careers advice

Media – film, TV and radio

Film

TV and radio

Industry news

Videos and case studies

Professional bodies

These represent people working in the sector, providing training and networking opportunities. They often provide careers support for students and graduates.

They also provide development for people already working in the sector. Follow them on LinkedIn, or visit their websites for news, contacts, work experience and vacancies.

The main professional associations for this sector include:

Technical

Networks and agencies

Trade union

BECTU is the media and entertainment trade union. Sign up to the Student Register for free news, information and event invitations.

Making contacts

Making contacts is essential for success in this sector. Many jobs in this field come through networking and speculative applications. You could start with:

Events

Recruitment fairs, open days, talks and events give insight and opportunities to make contacts. Regular events for this sector include:

In the North East

UK wide

For more events for this sector see Careers Service events or External Events.

Reference books available in the Careers Service

  • Sharp, E. (2009) How to Get a Job in Television: Build Your Career from Runner to Series Producer (Professional Media Practice). London: A & C Black
  • Russell, J. (2009) Writers' & Artists' Yearbook 2010. London: A & C Black

Related sectors

You may also be interested in Journalism and WritingMusic and Performing ArtsCreative Arts, Design and Fashion, or IT.

Or see our other occupational pages for more options.

Roles

There are a variety of roles in the media sector, from technical roles to working across production.

The UK film and screen industry is rapidly growing, in 2015 it contributed £2 billion in export revenues, making UK film one of the most export oriented parts of the economy. A skills audit report from The Work Foundation (PDF: 860KB) highlighted a number of skill shortages in the industry.

Roles highlighted as shortage roles include:

  • production accountants
  • VFX roles
  • art department (art directors, props)
  • construction (plasterers, painters, riggers)
  • assistant directors
  • script supervisors
  • line producers
  • strategic and business management roles

Film and broadcast media - production

The following job profiles include descriptions of typical duties, entry requirements and case studies.

For screenwriter, see Journalism and Writing.
For make-up artist, see Creative Arts, Design and Fashion.

Line producer

Location manager

Production designer

Programme/media researcher

Radio broadcast assistant

Radio producer

Runner

Television floor manager

Television production coordinator/assistant

TV/film/video producer

TV/film director

TV/film production manager

Film and broadcast media - technical

The following job profiles include descriptions of typical duties, entry requirements and case studies.

Broadcast engineer

Film/video editor

Lighting technician/director

Sound technician

Television camera operator

Skills employers look for

  • team working and the ability to work collaboratively
  • working under pressure
  • initiative, resourcefulness, problem-solving
  • interpersonal and communication skills
  • flexibility/adaptability
  • knowledge of the media industry and the production process 

confident attitude, enthusiasm and motivation are desirable qualities in the media sector.

Gaining Experience

Gaining work experience in media is essential and fiercely competitive.

Here are our top tips for finding and making the most out of opportunities:

  • know and love the medium you want to work in, making sure you're familiar with content and you have enthusiasm for it
  • follow ratings figures and box office takings to understand audiences and what is popular
  • form your own ideas about programmes, scripts, titles etc.
  • think about small independent production companies making content for advertising, corporate communications, training

The following websites offer advice on gaining media experience:

Many opportunities in this sector are advertised as unpaid or expenses only. For information and potential funding, see funding for work experience.

Advertised opportunities

Undertaking an internship or placement year is a great way to gain in-depth experience, however placement years are not commonly advertised in the media sector. It may be possible to arrange a placement by researching relevant organisations and contacting them directly, through a speculative application. Penultimate year undergraduate students can opt to take a 9-12 month placement, extending your degree programme by one year. For more information, or to register your interest, see Careers Service Placement Year

Internships and placements

Major UK broadcasters and production companies offering work experience include:*

Professional bodies also advertise opportunities, eg the BAFTA internship scheme. See About for a list of organisations.

* This list is not exhaustive. It only provides an example of the formal work experience opportunities available.

In the North East

  • Random Acts North - a talent residential training workshop, online mentoring and support from industry professionals to make a short film

Finding organisations

Speculative applications are when you contact employers not in response to an advertised vacancy. They can be a useful way to approach smaller employers who don’t offer formal internships or finding opportunities in a specialised field or specific location. 

Find organisations that interest you and get in touch, always with a named contact. Be specific about why you are writing to them and what you’re looking for.

Show your enthusiasm for the sector and highlight any relevant skills. Don’t give up if you don’t get a reply – follow up with a phone call or email to show that you’re keen.

Film and TV

Hospital, community and independent radio 

Use social media to find and connect with employers, particularly through LinkedIn.

Other ways to gain experience 

Student media opportunities 

  • NSR - student radio at Newcastle University
  • The Courier - written communication skills are valued so journalism experience can be important
  • NUTV - TV branch of Newcastle University student media
  • Student Radio Association

Competitions and funding

Competitions are a great way to get feedback on your work, showcase skills, make contacts and win prizes.

  • Student Radio Awards - annual competition awarding the best in student radio across 12 categories
  • BAFTA scholarship programme - for undertaking courses related to film, television or games in the UK  
  • The Network - annual four-day career development scheme with applications open in February each year.
  • John Brabourne Awards - funding and work experience for talented individuals wanting to break into TV or film
  • Shooting People - details of the latest film upload competitions
  • Hiive - £100,000 worth of competitions - a valuable way to gain experience
  • ADCAN Awards - annual film competition to encourage unsigned filmmakers and animators to submit a 30sec ad from a chosen charity brief.
  • BFI Funding Finder - funding and opportunities for new film industry professionals

Online courses

  • Creative Skillset – free online courses in topics including film production, visual effects and filmmaking
  • FutureLearn – free online courses in animation, screenwriting and the business of film 

Finding Jobs

Formal graduate training schemes are rare in this sector. Opportunities are often found speculatively or from networking.

Common entry-level roles are:

  • runner
  • researcher
  • media library assistants (logging tapes etc)

Freelance work is common with professionals changing roles, companies and productions frequently. 

Speculative applications are common within the media, with many opportunities filled without advertisement.

Always research the company you're approaching first. Have clear reasons why you are applying to them and be knowledgeable about their clients and work.

Networking is crucial to make contacts and find out about opportunities in the media. See making contacts and events in the About tab above.

Vacancy sites

Specialist recruitment sites and networks

Major broadcasters and production company jobsites*

* This list is not exhaustive. It only provides an example of some major broadcasters and production company jobsites

In the North East

Graduate roles in media are not common in the North East, with most opportunities in London, the South East, the North West and Scotland.

Finding companies

Not all jobs are advertised. You could also approach organisations or find work through networking in the industry.

Find organisations that interest you and get in touch, always with a named contact. Be specific about why you are writing to them and what you’re looking for.
Show your enthusiasm for the sector and highlight any relevant skills. Don’t give up if you don’t get a reply – follow up with a phone call or email to show that you’re keen.

Try the following sites to find companies to approach:

Film and TV

Hospital, community and independent radio 

Use social media to find and connect with employers, particularly through LinkedIn.

Work for Yourself

Being self-employed or working as a freelancer is common in this sector.

START UP in the Careers Service offers activities and support for eligible Newcastle University students and graduates interested in self-employment, freelancing or starting a business.