Art to become a rare and precious skill

TC Art ClassSociety has for centuries viewed a career in art to be a risky and unrewarding career path, often ignored in favour of the “safer” alternatives. According to generations of teachers and parents, training in a technical field was almost guaranteed to lead to job security and success, whereas the life of an artist was fraught with periods of unemployment and insecurity.

This is one of the reasons why so few people pursue art degrees with the intention of gaining future employment. But according to recent market research, this premise is being challenged. The world is rapidly evolving and we are now needing to train our children for jobs that don’t exist yet.

How can we do this? We must teach our children how to think creatively. We are in an emerging, global economy that requires creativity and out-of-the-box thinking – skills that artists have in abundance. An increasing number of employers are moving away from hiring technical staff because the demand for these talents is diminishing. Office workers in Australia are realising that their skill sets are in less demand than they were a decade ago.

In contrast, the interest in creative talents is increasing and should be highlighted when writing your resume. We are seeing a move toward creative thinkers being hired first even in traditional, technical careers.

Let’s look at an industry that has always valued creativity and an employment shift is evident – Marketing. A recent survey conducted by Hays – a global recruitment company contacted 400 marketing professionals across Australia and New Zealand to understand what skills and training were of most value for those looking to advance in the marketing industry.

The results of the survey were released in a report entitled DNA of a Marketing Director. The results showed 47% believe improving a customer’s experience was the biggest challenge they currently face (not technological tasks). Although 46% of respondents had exclusively worked in marketing positions prior to their current role, only 26% had actually obtained qualifications in the field.

It was more common for staff to hold a degree in commerce, economics, business or finance (30%), although 14% were qualified with humanities or arts degrees, and 13% had degrees in public relations or communications.

This report indicates a shift in the traditional mindset; a degree in the field of employment is no longer mandatory (or even expected) and the main priority is on customer experience. Across a growing number of industries, a traditional degree is no longer considered to be of the highest value.

Even technological juggernauts such as IBM and Microsoft are starting to appreciate the creative thinking of arts majors, showing a preference for those who can approach a challenge imaginatively as opposed to those who have been trained in a more calculated and direct method.

Brent Smart, chief marketing officer at IAG summed the situation up succinctly when he stated that “the future marketer needs to have the head of an engineer and the heart of a poet.” Although most of the workforce continue to pursue technological or business degrees, those that choose art are starting to be recognised for the rare and precious skills they possess.

With technological advances and the ability to outsource offshore, many roles are becoming almost obsolete. Why pay a person to analyse data and crunch numbers when a computer can accomplish the same thing faster and more effectively?

Why hire Australian’s for office tasks when you can hire someone in India or the Philippines at a fraction of the price. It’s your creativity that now gives you a competitive advantage in this emerging economy. We are coming into the age of the artist and we are excited by it.