Starting a Creative Career: Young Creative Workers in the Career Self-management Era

Giulia Scarpa

Student thesis: Master thesis


This thesis investigates the challenges of starting a creative career in the peculiar work environment of the creative industries. Faced with a constant employment instability and ever-changing external conditions, workers that enters the creative labor markets must be able to self-manage their career choices in order to reach and maintain job positions in those fields.
Using grounded theory method, this thesis examines how creative workers that have just begun their working life, decide about their career moves in a progression perspective without the benefit of any organizational guidance. Specifically, it examines how creatives manage to take work-related decisions in order to start their careers in the creative industries, which are dominated by project-based production systems, short-term contracts and structural uncertainty.
Analyzing the data collected from a group of diverse creative workers under 26 years old, the research identifies two resources sought in work experiences by young creatives in order to gain progression, and three strategies used to acquire those desired resources in this first phase of career building.
Based on the findings, the theory constructed on the emerged concepts, argues that young creative workers look for exploration and recognition opportunities when seeking and considering work experiences. They cannot rely on any external support, such as organizational support, therefore, they have to self-manage this seeking and their career building processes. As a result, to achieve those resources and whereby career progression, merely relying on themselves, they apply strategies of entrepreneurial and agential skills development, relationships management and presence maximization.

EducationsMSocSc in Management of Creative Business Processes , (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2016
Number of pages125