Media and the Arts

The large and diverse media and communications industry is central to the Australian economy. The industry covers a range of occupations and media, including: radio, television and film; print media; internet content development; advertising; public relations; speech writing; and design.

Growth in media and communications is heavily influenced by technological change and cultural or social factors. Demographic changes, government policy, new media forms and shifts in information consumption all significantly shape the sector.

The works

Graduates from many disciplines work in media and communications. The industry has long been a common destination for communications, media and arts graduates, but is increasingly attracting graduates from disciplines such as law, commerce and business. The ‘glamour factor’ attracts many, but the workload can be heavy, expectations demanding and deadlines tight. Without work experience, getting a foot in the door can be difficult. Graduates can spend a year or more volunteering or freelancing for minimal pay before breaking into full-time paid work.


Advertising intersects with many sectors, so its boundaries can be hard to specify. However, there’s little doubt that advertising plays a key role in Australia’s economy. It directly and indirectly contributes to economic growth, market development, employment and an array of ‘new economy’ skills. Advertising positions may include: account or digital project manager, digital marketing agency, strategic planner, copywriter, art director and producer.

Gawen Rudder from The Communications Council says in an industry where ‘the idea is king’, creative thinkers and problem solvers will thrive.

Agencies are particularly interested in hiring graduates who demonstrate superior communications skills, are digital and tech-savvy and have a passion for the industry. You’ll embark on a career in account management, strategic planning, digital or any number of positions in one of the most interesting, challenging, creative, innovative industries on the planet.

(This profile also appears in GCA’s annual Graduate Opportunities directory. GCA would like to thank The Communications Council for assisting with this profile.)

What you need

  • Bachelor degree or relevant cadetship for school leavers
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills
  • Inquisitiveness, tenacity, a strong worth ethic and good general knowledge
  • Specific occupations, such as film production or design, require technical skills and relevant study
  • Journalism graduates can gain entry via cadetships with major newspapers, television or radio; these are increasingly rare and highly competitive
  • Experienced journalists often enter public relations, commonly as media officers or speech writers

Graduate salary ranges for selected relevant occupations are as follows:

  • Graphic designer: $32,000–$41,500
  • Media producer: $38,800–$50,100
  • Newspaper/periodical editor: $37,000–$48,000
  • Print journalist: $30,000–$42,000
  • Public relations professional: $36,000–$50,000

(Figures taken from the Australian Graduate Survey 2008, GCA. Ranges refer to the middle 50 per cent of salaries for bachelor degree graduates with permanent residency, in full-time employment in Australia October 2007 to April 2008.)

Industry at a glance

  • 33 years median age (advertising and marketing)
  • Positive outlook (51% growth: advertising and marketing, 2004–09)
  • 45,600 employed in publishing


Further Resources

Careers in Media and the Arts