Nearly two thirds of full-time UK creatives are worried about job security, WeTransfer says

WeTransfer’s Ideas Report is an extensive, annual snapshot into the creative world. It shows creatives are overworked, underpaid and “tiptoeing on the edge of burnout”.

15 November 2022

From 26 October-6 November 2022, 93 per cent of UK adults reported the cost of living as an issue. The creative industry – a sector that runs on freelancing and historically underpaid internships – is feeling the strain. This year, research accompanying WeTransfer’s latest annual Ideas Report, surveying thousands of creative workers, has revealed the full extent of how the cost of living crisis is compounding financial uncertainty in creativity. It also offers insight into how creatives are feeling in their roles right now, and their prospects going forward.

In the UK, “nearly two thirds of UK creatives in full-time employment are concerned about job security and looking to take on an extra job in the next 12 months to make ends meet”, a WeTransfer release outlines. The platform’s recent research in the UK reveals 44 per cent of creatives have had to use their savings to pay bills in the last six months, while 35 per cent have had to go into their overdraft. Meanwhile, 50 per cent of freelance and self-employed creatives report they can no longer cover their essential bills.

In the freelance sector, 70 per cent report wanting to charge higher rates for their work, though 49 per cent feel actively pressured to keep their fees unchanged to remain competitive. Freelancers add that the issue is compounded by clients taking longer to pay invoices – 62 per cent believe this has worsened in 2022.


WeTransfer: Ideas Report (Copyright © WeTransfer, 2022)

As for how creatives are faring in the roles they do have, globally creatives are careening towards burnout. In fact, 75 per cent of creatives report experiencing or being close to burnout – a figure which WeTransfer says has more than doubled since its survey last year. The Ideas Report adds that only 57 per cent of Gen Z creatives feel they’re being compensated fairly compared to 73 per cent of Boomers.

As ever, it seems the industry continues to push workers to conform to the concept that doing what you love means doing more of it, on your own time. 70 per cent of creatives globally believe that creative toil rather than talent is central to success.

Amos Eretusi, founder of social enterprise The Kusp, states: “The cost of living crisis has certainly imposed a limitation on artistic expression for a lot of creatives in our community, which is putting their mental health at greater risk. We need more active support. Beyond just seeking out creative employees and freelancers to work with on short or long-term projects, being a vocal advocate of the work they do would help people remain resilient in this climate.”

The UK-focused research from WeTransfer was gathered as part of wider surveys for the Ideas Report and is not included in the final document. You can read more of the global statistics here. WeTransfer surveyed 6,500 creative professionals in 180 countries for the report, alongside this additional analysis of 4,000 people in the UK and US.

GalleryWeTransfer: Ideas Report (Copyright © WeTransfer, 2022)


WeTransfer: Ideas Report (Copyright © WeTransfer, 2022)

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WeTransfer: Ideas Report (Copyright © WeTransfer, 2022)

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About the Author

Liz Gorny

Liz (she/they) joined It’s Nice That as news writer in December 2021. In January 2023, they became associate editor, predominantly working on partnership projects and contributing long-form pieces to It’s Nice That. Contact them about potential partnerships or story leads.

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