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Industry Skills Survey


Conducted on behalf of AFTRS by Screen Audience Research Australia (SARA), the triennial industry skills survey revealed the top skills requirements for creative practitioners and businesses to manage disruption.

The first survey report, undertaken and delivered in 2016, was titled ‘The Rise of the Creative Entrepreneur’. The second survey, conducted in 2019, reveals an industry moving with those creative entrepreneurs towards new industry business models.

More than 530 individuals and 74 companies completed the recent survey, with the results, as revealed in the report ‘The Business of Creativity’, indicating a hunger for training in specific business skills including marketing, business planning and financing.

“The survey revealed a new focus on the kinds of skills that are needed to help sustain creative work. Our industry now views business skills as complementary to creative capabilities – reflected in the desire for a better understanding of business models and the management of creative practice. The survey shows a real desire for training to build on and extend creative craft skills into sustainable enterprise.”

- Georgie McClean, AFTRS Acting CEO

The top five training skills gaps identified by companies responding to the survey are social media and digital marketing, production management, business planning, leadership skills and brand development, and marketing.

The top five training skills gaps identified by individuals are project financing, script/project development and assessment, business planning, legal/contracting/rights negotiation, and emerging technologies.

The survey also revealed that the industry wants to skill-up via short courses from one to five days.

In response to the survey, AFTRS is developing a suite of creative business skills courses. Short, sharp and immediately useful, they will be taught by top industry specialists and cover topics such as emerging technologies, personal branding, lean business planning, and exploiting IP.

“Skills are vital to helping creative practitioners and businesses manage disruption. As the industry continues to undergo major change and challenges to old modes of production, creative practitioners are hungrier than ever for skills.”

- Peter Drinkwater, SARA CEO

Following the first survey, AFTRS introduced Industry Advisory Panels to help develop and validate curriculum, informing all degree courses and a new suite of shorter courses. The new courses, Industry Certificates, are directly mapped to skills gaps and positions in demand. There are currently four Industry Advisory Panels that cover production/content, craft, radio and podcasting, and business and development. Fifteen Industry Certificates have been delivered, with two new Industry Certificates to be launched in 2020.

AFTRS has embedded industry business skills needs into its degree courses, including the Master of Arts Screen: Business and Leadership. The program includes a live business challenge, which involves students travelling to an international screen production company where they take a brief and deliver a full presentation on new opportunities for the business.

The AFTRS Graduate Incubator Program, a partnership between AFTRS and The Studio to hothouse innovative screen and broadcast ideas from recent AFTRS graduates, has just started with two three-month Incubator Labs, seed funding and mentorship to support the development of screen and broadcast projects.