What Skills Do Employers in the Creative Economy Look For?


It is acknowledged that there can be high barriers for entry into the cultural sector that vary across the Middle East region. In Saudi Arabia, for example, some of these challenges include a fixed understanding as to what constitutes “a job”, a lack of awareness about the types of jobs available and a reluctance by young professionals to do mundane tasks. In addition, there is not always clarity around the types of jobs that exist within the sector.

Therefore, one of the top skills that can benefit young applicants is a willingness to be flexible and open to exploring new career pathways. There are many avenues into the sector across a range of fields with varying levels of education required. Additionally, young professionals should ask questions of colleagues or potential employers about the different types of work their organisation performs so that they can get a more complete picture of where they might fit within the industry; it may not be where they initially thought.

From an employer’s perspective, organisations need to ensure that they have adequate on-boarding processes that help employees feel valued and understand internal processes from the beginning. This will also help young professionals balance their creative output against their organization’s practical needs and understand that there can be value in the seemingly unglamorous process of more mundane, but nonetheless necessary tasks.

Finally, it is also important to have regional role models in the industry from the large-scale projects, such as the Louvre Abu Dhabi, which help to provide context to what it means to work in the museum world that highlight the value of working in the arts. Ideally, it would be helpful to have role models in other areas as well, such as arts management.  

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Jennifer Russ

Associate Consultant

Based in the UAE as an Associate Consultant for Barker Langham Recruitment Jennifer is a cultural consultant with extensive experience in the development of cultural policy, complex programme management, strategic business planning and HR structuring. She has worked on projects in the United States, Europe and the Middle East.



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