In My Opinion: Gavin Mochan: Scotland’s growing job market is good news for journalists

THE upcoming referendum on Scottish independence has dominated the news in recent months. Behind the headlines, Scotland’s job market is improving all the time. The national debate has encouraged creative expression and fuelled interest in Scottish culture, trends that have been reflected in the jobs market.

At the moment, there are 57,870 people employed in the creative and cultural industry in Scotland. Half of the organisations in this line of work recruited new personnel in the last three years.As a result, those seeking a design career, jobs in journalism or television-based work can look to an active jobs market.

But what are the current recruitment trends in Scotland? And how can you get a job in the media?

At the end of last year, the Scottish jobs market was back at a pre-recession level, as more and more people were managing to find both permanent and temporary jobs.

Recruiters said that greater client demand was the main reason behind this rise in employment, but Scottish retailers also noted a ‘tentative boost’ while the IT and computing sector recorded the biggest increase in permanent staff. Even so, a report from the Bank of Scotland also found that there was a sharp drop in the availability of staff, which continues to be a problem.

In its latest market survey, Donald MacRae, chief economist at the Bank of Scotland, said: “Demand for staff was strong but accompanied by a lack of available candidates.” The report also noted that permanent starting salaries saw a sharp rise too thanks to a “substantial improvement in the health of Scotland’s labour market”.

So if demand for jobs is increasing yet availability is scarce, does this mean there are ample opportunities for creative individuals to work in the media?

Information published by the country’s national skills body all seems to point to a bright future for the creative and cultural industry. TV production in Scotland is expected to grow in the near future, qualified individuals with IT and digital skills are in high demand while 77 per cent of creative media employers recruited new staff in the last three years.

Aspiring or existing journalists are sure to be greeted by a competitive environment, but that doesn’t mean to say appropriate positions of employment aren’t available. Traditional journalism in Scotland is in a state of flux as the major outlets and broadcasters react to greater competition and move focus to online platforms. This shift to the digital world is one that applies across the board, from niche publications to larger national and international newspapers and magazines – giving journalists a great variety to choose from. On top of that there is a new network of small businesses, 72 per cent of creative media workplaces employ just one to four people.

With so many reports concerning Scotland in the news recently, not just about September’s referendum but also the upcoming Commonwealth Games, it seems like more and more people want to talk about this great country. Whether they’re representing international publishers or independent agencies, stories, reports and articles are being written all the time.

Journalists can capitalise on plentiful job opportunities now and in the future as well. The creative and cultural industry shows no signs of slowing down, while the growing economy is improving job prospects for everyone.

Gavin Mochan is head of sales at s1jobs.