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Screen and broadcast students face uncertain employment future

More than half of those seeking a career in the screen or radio industry will be out of work at some point, a survey of past students of  the Australian Film Television and Radio School suggests.

The study of 734 former students found that 52% of them had faced industry unemployment at some point in their career while less than 20% are now in a permanent full time roles. The Sydney-based AFTRS is Australia’s national screen arts and broadcast school.

The results suggest that 37% of AFTRS’ alumni are currently doing work outside of the industry to make ends meet.   

Of those who had faced unemployment, 21% had only one period of industry unemployment; 41% said they’d had between two and four periods out of work; 37% had had five or more periods out of the industry.

Periods out of the industry varied, with 26% only seeing two to four month breaks between work, although 17% were out for more than two years.

A total of 49% of those currently working in the industry had an income of less than $60,000.

Of the sample, 41% said their current status was freelance, 17% were permanent full-time, 12% said they ran their own company, and a smaller portion were sole traders or casual.

Currently, 46% of those in the industry were receiving most of their income from creating and producing film, TV radio or new media while 11% were creating and producing content for advertising or corporate communications, 10% from education in a relevant field, however 19% said most of their current income was from an area not connected with the media and entertainment industry.

The survey did suggest, despite the challenging industry landscape, students felt adequately prepared for the industry on finishing their studies.

 

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