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WeTransfer Ideas Report '22

The annual WeTransfer Ideas Report is one of the world’s largest studies on the creative workforce, it digs into the minds of creatives (and clients) from almost every corner of the planet.

DREAMING DREAM JOB. IT DOESN’t EXIST. ABOUT YOUR QUIT

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L e t t e r f r o m V P O F M a r k e t i n g  0 0 F o r e w o r d  0 0 M e t h o d o lo gy  0 0 1 — S u c c e s s : T h e m e a s u r e s f o r j o b s u c c e s s a r e e vo lv i n g .  0 0 2 — M o n e y: A h e a lt h y payc h e c k i s j u s t o n e e l e m e n t o f a f u l f i l l i n g c a r e e r .  0 0 3 — B o u n da r i e s : Say i n g ‘ n o ’ i s t h e m o s t u n d e r r at e d w o r k p l ac e s k i l l .  0 0 4 — G r ow t h : I n a c o m p e t i t i v e s e cto r , s e l f - p r o m ot i o n f e e ls e s s e n t i a l a s e v e r .  0 0 5 — Au to n o m y: I n d e p e n d e n t c r e ato r s a r e f i n d i n g t h e m o s t j oy at w o r k .  0 0 R e a l i t y c h e c k : F i v e e x p e rt s s p e a k c a n d i d ly a b o u t ac h i e v i n g t h e “ d r e a m j o b ”  0 0 Table of Contents

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During the peak years of COVID the question “How ar e you?” seemed to have lost all meaning. The world was comi ng apar t at the seams, and the answer, quite obviously, was “Does it matter ?” Yet , here we are, back on our feet , swapping inside pants for outside pants and Zooms for commutes. But , now that things are normalizing, how are we, r eally ? Af ter three years of sur vival mode, are we the same ? Do we still hold the same values? How do we define success? And if it’s finally acceptable to check in with ourselves again, do we even know how to? This year’s repor t is a special one for us. Instead of focusing on the outside world, it's time to look inward, and to the creative communit y at large. We asked 6, 000 people from our global WeTransfer communit y personal quest ions about success, fulfillment , and happiness. Maybe it’s because of the trust we've built over the last decade by helping them share their best ideas, but they di dn’t hold back . They shared brutal — and poignant— opinions on the iss ues plaguing the creative industr y psyche. The results show an industr y in flux: an old guard o f creative professionals and agency folks rethinking the sacri fices they ’ve always assumed necessar y for their careers, and a n ew guard of content creators prioritizing health and happine ss, but not earning the industr y 's respect (or even a livable w age). It sounds like we’ve reached a tipping point . But th e good news is that we’re all on the edge together. Ready to ti p. As a staunch suppor ter of the creative communit y, i t's impor tant that we understand the changing motivations of our customers. And as creatives ourselves, we mustn’t forget to ta ke the time to 
 stop, check-in, and ask each other— and ourselves—“H ow are you?” VP of Marketing Julia S hapiro Letter from our VP of Marketing lightbulb Rewriting romantic my ths of the creative industr y 03

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Rewriting romantic myths of the creative industry Fore word   Rewriting romantic my ths of the creative industr y 04

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Shattering ab out creative jobs is space for honest conversations about the state of t he sector. The 16th- centur y Italian count Baldassare Castiglio ne coined an intoxicating Italian term that many in the creat ive industr y resonate with. Sprezzatura or the ar t of shrouding effor t and toil —like a swan elegantly gliding on the water yet frantically paddling beneath the sur face—has charact erized the public image of the industr y for years. The latest WeTransfer Ideas Repor t marks a moment o f reckoning, of truth-telling, within the industr y. A sur vey of thousands of people from 180 countries, who rely on WeTransfer’s tools daily, got to the hear t of the matter: thriving in the cre ative sector today isn’t about effor tless genius but about mad hu stle.  Shattering romantic notions about creative jobs is clearing space for honest conversations about the state of t he sector. WeTransfer’s study, conducted in par tnership with s trategy firm TRIPTK , reveals that 56% of creatives don’t feel su ccessful; most struggle with making enough money, and nearly 60% feel ill -prepared for a future that’s being largely defined by technologies like AR , VR , and AI. Producing inventi ve solutions on deadline of ten requires a lot of personal sacrifi ce, with creative workers expected to demote their personal plans to meet the pressures of the job. Glossing over the realities of the trade, turns out , has resulted in poor compensation, feelings of being under valued , underpaid, and even job burnout . The current job dissatisfaction rate is cause for c oncern. Over 90% feel that there’s a general ignorance abou t their work and over half feel underappreciated by their p eers, bosses, and clients. “What worries me the most is the devaluing of creat ive skills, like the belief that one person can manage social c ontent , strategy, analy tics, and scheduling,” obser ves Chan té Joseph, writer and digital content producer and one of six industr y exper ts inter viewed in WeTransfer’s repor t . “ The id ea that it is ‘easy ’ or you’re ‘just posting on social media’ is becoming a common rebuttal to people who feel like they ’re u nder valued and unsuppor ted in their roles.” Olivia Lopez, creative strategist and author, lamen ts the ubiquit y of “scope creep”—the notorious practice of adding t asks to a project outside of the contract—from clients w ho under valued her exper tise. “It took many years of b ad experiences to realize that overex tending of ten yie lded fruitless labor,” she explains. Unseen labor within the creative industr y, in fact , is so prevalent that nearly 60% of sur vey respondents ranked “sayin g no” as the top skill they ’d like to acquire. But it’s not all hear tbreak . WeTranfer’s 2022 Ideas Repor t also reveals an unwavering optimism within the sector, d espite a year marked by an economic downturn, geo -politica l upheavals, a climate crisis, and lest we forget , a global pandemic. With the more sophisticated communication technolog y, productivit y tools, and an overall appreciation for worke r well -being during the pandemic, many are able to fo rg e a career on their own terms more than ever. F or a vast majorit y the goal is autonomy or “the fre edo m to explore what I find exciting ever y day,” as M ar t y Bell, a Por tugal -based tech entrepreneur, puts it . Ultimately, this tumultuous period in histor y has g ive n creatives a clearer, perhaps more sobering outlook on their long-term priorities. WeTransfer’s Ideas Repor t o ff ers plent y of evidence that having control over how they spend their tim e and talents is fundamental. The most hardworking creatives admit that nur turing a creative mind means learning to regularly escape the hustle and grind . “I do have a problem with working too much,” Bell a ttests. “But it ' s also impor tant to switch o ff , to touch grass, to swi m in the sea, to wander the streets of Lisbon aimless ly withou t a phone for six hours on a Saturday af ternoon.” R o m a n t i c N ot i o n s c l e a r i n g Journalist and design critic Anne Quito Rewriting romantic my ths of the creative industr y 05 FORE WORD

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Methodology Rewriting romantic myths of the creative industry 06

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We probed this subset of WeTransfer users about the tension bet ween perceptions and realities of the industr y; what tools and skill sets are most valuable; and finally, the . means and methods of making money In July and August 2022, we sur veyed over creatives from countries to get a sense of how they’re feeling ab out their profession and their prospec ts for the future. 6,500 180 07 Me thodology Rewriting romantic my ths of the creative industr y

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India, United Kingdom, United States, Germany, Ital y, South Africa, Mexico, Netherlands, France, Spain , Afghanistan, Canada, Greece, Poland, Brazil, Albania, Por tugal, Romania, Australia, United Arab Emirates, Pakistan, Philippines, Argentina, Algeria, Belgium, China, Turkey, Austria , Colombia, Nigeria, Kenya, Ireland, Malaysia, Serb ia, Switzerland, Bulgaria, Peru, New Zealand, American Samoa, Sloven ia, Croatia, Ecuador, Indonesia, Chile, Israel, Sin gapore, Cyprus, Lebanon, Denmark, Lithuania, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, Dominican Republic, Hungar y, Namibia, Panama, Japan , Bangladesh, Czech Republic, Nor way, Angola, Antarct ica, Costa Rica, Jamaica, Jordan, Sri Lanka, Andorr a, Malta, Thailand, Uganda, Morocco, Vietnam, Egypt, Finland, Hong Kong, Latvia, Macedonia, Qatar, Venezuela, Zim babwe, Guatemala, South Korea, Slovakia, Tanzania, Trinida d and Tobago, Ukraine, Ghana, Luxembourg, Tunisia, Botswana, El Salvador, Estonia, Russia, Uruguay, Armenia, Barbad os, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ethiopia, Georgia, Mong olia, Oman, Taiwan, Zambia, Honduras, Mauritius, Mozambique, Ir aq, Kuwait, Netherlands Antilles, Puer to Rico, Azerb aijan, Bahrain, Bolivia, Cambodia, Madagascar, Moldova, Montenegro, Rwanda, Aruba, Ashmore and Car tier Islands, The Ba hamas, Bermuda, Burkina Faso, Burma, Cape Verde, Europa Is land, Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, Par aguay, West Bank, Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Benin, Bouvet Island, Democratic Republic of the Congo, C ote d'Ivoire, French Guiana, Gabon, Guernsey, Haiti, Lesotho, Mal awi, Maldives, Monaco, Nicaragua, Palau, Saint Kitt s and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Somalia, Sudan, Suriname, Western Saha ra, Belarus, Bhutan, British Indian Ocean Territor y , British Virgin Islands, Burundi, Cameroon, Cocos (Keeling) Islands , Republic of the Congo, Cuba, Dominica, Fiji, Fren ch Southern and Antarctic Lands, Gaza Strip, Grenada, Isle of Man, Jersey, Nor th Korea, Laos, Libya, Liechtenstein, Ma cau, Mali, Mauritania, Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Is lands, Svalbard, Swaziland, Togo, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Yem en We sp oke to creatives in (deep breath please)— Rewriting romantic my ths of the creative industr y 08 Me thodology

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 The range of respondents to the online questionna ire reflects the breadth of the creative sector—from graphic designers, UX designers, musici ans, photographers, directors, illustrators, ar tists, adver tising and public relations strategis ts, to TikTok creators and freelance writers. We grouped them into three segments to better under stand nuances within the wildly diverse industr y : They repor t to a design, adver tising, or public relations agency and are t ypically par t of a team. They ’re more likely to be female and under the age of 35. This is the most ethnically- diverse group. Ag e n cy Staff    This segment comprises freelancers, consultants, or creatives running a small studio. They work directly with clients; about half are male and skew towards older age groups. C r e at i v e Profes sionals   Content They are self-star ters— enterprising individuals who conceptualize, produce, and publish content like tutorials, product reviews, newsletters, podcasts, or music tracks on social media plat forms. Most are not working directly with brands and make money from affiliate marketing commissions, paid ads, or donations. Majorit y in this segment identif y as male.    Cre ators The opinions of industr y thought-leaders are also r epresented in this year’s repor t . 09 Methodology Rewriting romantic myths of the creative industry

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Over half of the respondents (52 % ) work full -time, 25 % are self- employed and 8 % are par t-time. 52 % F u l l-t i m e 25 % S e l f - e m p loy e d 8 % Pa r t-t i m e Employment statu s of respondent s Rewriting romantic my ths of the creative industr y 10 Me thodology

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E volving Succes s The are me asures For Insight 1 Profes sional   Rewriting romantic my ths of the creative industr y 11

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There’s a per vasive myth within the creative sec tor that conflates passion and profession. Creative jobs are often cast as “dream jobs” where “doing what you love” will naturally, inevitably, lead to success. Of course this is a fantasy, written and propagated by this ver y industr y and there’s been a tendency to cling to th e idealistic, well -worn slogans. For instance,  55 % say that taking on projects that align with one’s personal values is e ssential, yet only 22 % can afford to really follow this maxim. In the same vein, 50 % profess that employee wellness ought to be prioritized in the workplace but only 26% do so. say taking on projects that align with their values is essential can afford to follow this maxim 55 % 22 % Rewriting romantic my ths of the creative industr y 12 1 — Succes s

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Thriving Hu stle sector Compromise Involves The Cre ative IN and The realit y is that thriving in the creative sector involves a lot of hustle and compromise. A vast majorit y of respondents  (78%) are willing to make personal sacrifices to achieve their career goals— an attitude that’s par ticularly prevalent among Gen Zers (82%) and Black creatives (90%). But many also are raring to finally lif t the veil to the my thic creative process. Over 90% feel that there’s a general ignorance about the behind -the-scenes work involved in their jobs and over half feel underappreciated by their peers, bosses, and clients. On the whole, most creatives  (56%) feel unsuccessful at work . Of the three subgroups, agency staff are in constant fight mode—most likely to sacrifice their values and free time. More than 1 in 10 have been told that they ’re replaceable at work .  Rewriting romantic my ths of the creative industr y 13 1 — Succes s

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Hard work ≠ success Whether it’s stagnant wages or not being promoted, the majorit y of respondents feel like they ’re not getting back what they ’re putting in. Source: WeTransfer Ideas Repor t 2022 Need a quick break ? Scan to get an interactive version of this data visualization (ooh). 44 % feel SUCCES SFUL feel unSUCCES SFUL 56 % Percentage of cre atives who feel succes sful vs those who don' t Rewriting romantic my ths of the creative industr y 14 1 — Succes s

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Most creatives agree finding at work is impor tant . Yet , research shows us that Black and Asian identif ying employees to find joy at work , with only 35% and 37% respectively repor ting they ’ ve done so compared to 51% of White identif ying creatives. O n e t h i n g M o r e  Joy struggle Rewriting romantic my ths of the creative industr y 15 1 — Succes s 35 % Bl ack cre atives find joy at work Asian cre atives find joy at work 37 %

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Chanté Joseph Freelance writer, digital content producer, and host of the UK Channel 4 series How Not To Be Racist “Success also looks like ownership. There is only so long I would like to lease out my labor. I hope to get to a point where I am in control of something and in a position to give others oppor tunities while sustaining myself.” Words of wisdom  @Chantay yJay y Rewriting romantic my ths of the creative industr y 16 1 — Succes s

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Mone y isn’ t Motivator Prime The For insight 2 Cre atives   Rewriting romantic my ths of the creative industr y 17

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P urp ose, and not large paychecks, is the pursuit of most creatives. When asked to define success, most ranked so cial resp onsibility, personal growth, and quality time outside of work over money. The majorit y of creatives aim to earn
 “just enough” to afford hobbies and interest  Generally, seeking a bigger salar y is tied to escap ing work , with the majorit y aiming to earn “just enough” to a fford hobbies and other interests or even retiring early. There are key differences within the three sub - group s however. ‰ Agency staff cite “collaborating with
 great brands” as the top success indicator. ‰ Making money is also more of a priorit y compared
 to solo professionals and content creators. ‰ For content creators and solo creatives, “breaking through the clutter”
 and being recognized for their uniqueness feels lik e winning. Rewriting romantic my ths of the creative industr y 18 2 — Mone y

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There are lessons here for employers who want to at tract and retain top talent in their agency :  Making tim e for fair pay negotiations is crucial, especially fo r junior employees. Only 57% of Gen Zers believe they 're bei ng paid fairly (compared to 73% of Boomers) yet only 1 5% asked for a raise last year. A whopping 35% of Gen Zers changed jobs in the past year compared to an averag e of 22% across older generations. This isn’t to say that solo professionals and conte nt creators are not anxious about getting compensated.  A third of solo entrepreneurs bemoan not earning enough because of clients who are late with payment s or don’t pay at all.  Most content creators are ma king ends meet with $50,000 USD a year—which is less than the median wage in the US and prett y average in the UK. 60% of creators say they aren’t generating any inco me from their social media posts. 60 % ge t ting From Social Media post s of Cre ators income Aren’ t  Rewriting romantic my ths of the creative industr y 19 2 — Mone y

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“Success for me is grow th. That doesn't necessarily mean always doing bigger and better things, but diving as deep as I can go and not drowning —that's the thrill.” Words of wisdom Raven Smith Vogue columnist and author of bestselling book Trivial Pursuits  @raven__smith Rewriting romantic my ths of the creative industr y 20 2 — Mone y

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About a third of creatives . In the coming year a more conser vative 20% say that they ’ll be looking for new oppor tunities, while 15% prefer to wait and see how hard the potential recession will affect them. Job s in Changed 2021 Source: WeTransfer Ideas Repor t 2022 O n e t h i n g M o r e  Rewriting romantic my ths of the creative industr y 21 2 — Mone y 20 % CRE ATIVES SAY THE Y’RE LOOKING FOR NE W OPPORTUNITIES

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le ast IMPORTANT Most IMPORTANT 2 % R e c o g n i t i o n Wo r k i n g w/ t h e b e st B r e a k i n g t h ro u g h M a k i n g e n o u g h m o n e y T i m e O u t s i d e wo r k S e l f - d e v e lo p m e n t M a k i n g a d i f f e r e n c e 9 % 13 % 16 % 18 % 22 % 19 % 60% OF CRE ATIVES DEFINED SUCCES S It’s not just about the paycheck Money still matters, but personal grow th and producing impact ful work are more meaningful markers of success to the creative communit y. The se ven definitions of succes s, r anked Source: WeTransfer Ideas Repor t 2022 N eed a quick break ? Scan to get an interactive version of this dat a visuali z ation ( ooh ) . Rewriting romantic my ths of the creative industr y 22 2 — Mone y

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 Skill is Workpl ace Saying Underr ated “no” most The insight 3  Rewriting romantic my ths of the creative industr y 23

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Creatives are no strangers to over time, r ush jobs, and all-nighters. There’s a general acceptance for the culture of personal sacrifice and sweat as a price for working in the industr y. Dinner plans are moved, doctor’s visits deferred, vacations postponed in the name of per fecting a deliverable or accommodating a latebreaking client request . Nearly 70% embrace the notion that toil, and not unique talent per se, is the key to s uccess. of respondents are willing to make sacrifices to achieve their career goals 78 % Rewriting romantic my ths of the creative industr y 24 3 — Boundaries

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But this persistent image of professionalism may soon be ending. A majorit y of respondents  (57%) are now saying that setting boundaries and saying “no” is the most underrated skill. Being intentiona l about demarcating one’s personal and professional realms has become more urgent during a period when many are still working out of their homes.  Failing to set boundaries results in burnout , the state of “physical, emotional, or mental exhaus tion” that 75% of respondents admit to experiencing. Burnout , which is listed in the World Health Organization’s International Disease Classification (ICD -11) as a symptom of chronic work stress, is par ticularly acute for those working in agencies , where an alarming 60% have experienced a form of it over the past year. This burnout spike is sobering, compared to last ye ar when 35% of creatives said their work-life balance had worsened because of Covid. 65 % b urnout have E xperienced Agency Staff of  Rewriting romantic my ths of the creative industr y 25 3 — Boundaries

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Feeling mentally drained? You’re not the only one. In the past year, burnout rates have doubled and creatives are feeling mentally (and physically) exhausted. Burned out more than once Burned out once Close to being burned out 49 % 22 % 16 % Agency folks 33 % 24 % 14 % Content Cre ators Cre ative Profes sionals 32 % 27 % 15 % Source: WeTransfer Ideas Repor t 2022 Need a quick break ? Scan to get an interactive version of this data visualization (ooh). past ye ar's e xperience with b urnout, r anked Rewriting romantic my ths of the creative industr y 26 3 — Boundaries

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Olivia Lopez Creative strategist , author, and host of The Ar t of Travel podcast “ The pros of working in a globalized contex t are directly tied to the cons. It's wonder ful to work with a range of clients around the world, until you are asked to join a 4am Zoom.” Words of wisdom  @oliviavlopez Rewriting romantic my ths of the creative industr y 27 3 — Boundaries

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2 in 3 European respondents (67%) claim to have been close to, or have experienced in the past year. It’s an alarming number, but it’s in fact significantly less than the global average of 75%. b urnout O n e t h i n g M o r e  Source: WeTransfer Ideas Repor t 2022 Rewriting romantic my ths of the creative industr y 28 3 — Boundaries 67 % 75 % GLOBAL AVG . OF CRE ATIVES B URNED OUT l AST YE AR EUROPE AN CRE ATIVES B URNED OUT l AST YE AR

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Creatives want to work on saying “no” In an industr y that has always valued creatives who are hungr y for more, saying no is finally the #1 underrated skill creatives want to master. 29 % 35 % 38 % 40 % 46 % 57 % r e so lv i n g c o n f l i ct N e g ot i at i n g P r e s e n tat i o n s k i l l s B e i n g k i n d B u i l d i n g r e l at i o n s h i p s S ay i n g N O SCALE INDICATES R ANKING Most underr ated workpl ace skills, r anked Source: WeTransfer Ideas Repor t 2022 Need a quick break ? Scan to get an interactive version of this data visualization (ooh). Rewriting romantic my ths of the creative industr y 29 3 — Boundaries

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 E ver Than Es sential More Feels insight 4 Self-promotion sector Compe titive in A  Rewriting romantic my ths of the creative industr y 30

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The ar t of touting your own accomplishments has become a necessar y evil. For most, it’s not a matter of vanity but sur vival. Agency staff are par ticularly hyper-focused on findin g distinct ways to feel appreciated and valued at work while solo p rofessionals rely on self-promotion to build a net work of clients and collaborators. For content creators, mastering social media is the key to reaching bigger audiences, creating a personal brand, and in creasing their income. of content creators do not generate any revenue from social media, despite seeing it as their best oppor tunit y to maximize their income. 60 % Rewriting romantic my ths of the creative industr y 31 4 — Grow th

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Gen z To Themselves Gener ation as The hardest Are Most Consider working Likely However, the majorit y of respondents acknowledge that  self-promotion alone isn’t enough to build a career on. Nearly 70% believe a strong work ethic is more impor tant than raw talent  and 80% say that learning “timeless skills” that can weather the tides of technology is crucial. Gen Z creatives are  most likely to consider themselves par t of the hardest working generation (31% vs 22% of Boomers). Compared to the average, they ’re especially keen about learning new creative sof t ware (42% vs 39%), production skills (23% vs 19 %), social media content creation (36% vs 29%), and developing exper tise in building for augmented real it y, vir tual realit y, and mixed realit y (10% vs 9%) plat forms.  Rewriting romantic my ths of the creative industr y 32 4 — Grow th

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“We need a better understanding of theor y—my pursuit and application of it has been the biggest cheat code in my career— and an abilit y to foster an insatiable level of curiosit y.” Words of wisdom Marcus Collins Head of Strategy at Wieden+Kennedy, New York  linkedin.com/in/marctothec Rewriting romantic my ths of the creative industr y 33 4 — Grow th

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Self-promotion is the key to getting ahead Agency folks, content creators, and creative professionals all agree that self-promotion is the most impor tant skill for growing their net works and increasing their income. Ag e n cy c r e at i v e s 49 % C r e at i v e p ro f e s s i o n a l s 49 % 44 % C o n t e n t C r e ato r s Percentage of cre atives who r ank self-promotion as the skill the y're most focu sed on Source: WeTransfer Ideas Repor t 2022 Need a quick break ? Scan to get an interactive version of this data visualization (ooh). Rewriting romantic my ths of the creative industr y 34 4 — Grow th

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About 60% of respondents believe that independent study —be it taking classes, learning via an app, or watching online tutorials—is the most efficient way to acquire a . Half consider travel as a means of cultivating thei r skill set and sensibilities. Only 12% believe that a formal e ducation is necessar y. A traditional design/creative educati on tops the list of overrated skills in the workplace. ne w Skill Source: WeTransfer Ideas Repor t 2022 O n e t h i n g M o r e  Rewriting romantic my ths of the creative industr y 35 4 — Grow th 50 % CONSIDER TR AVEL AS A WAY TO CULTIVATE THEIR SKILLSE T

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job joy on the most the finding Independent Content Cre ators Are insight 5   Rewriting romantic my ths of the creative industr y 36

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Autonomy is among the top allures of becoming a content creator. The proliferation of affordable, easy-to-use technology and free publishing platforms have allowed them to become entirely self-sufficient. While there is some anxiet y over emerging technolog ies like NFTs, Web3, and AI, they mostly have a rather zen attitud e about the future. Content creators are also first to speak up about th e inequities of the profession.  About 40% feel underpaid, and a quar ter have trouble convincing others to compensate them for th eir skills. Rewriting romantic my ths of the creative industr y 37 5 — Autonomy

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Though content creation may not lead to riches (at least not straight away),  56% say they ’ve found joy at work in the past year  and 59% are optimistic that their income will grow. content About up to inequITIES profes sion the Spe ak are the first cre ators of  Rewriting romantic my ths of the creative industr y 38 5 — Autonomy

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Marty Bell Tech Entrepreneur, Founder of Poolsuite “I’m teaching myself ever y thing I can about the crossovers bet ween the creator and cr ypto economies. A wave of new ways to fund creative endeavors is on the horizon.” Words of wisdom  @mar t y Rewriting romantic my ths of the creative industr y 39 5 — Autonomy

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Self-reported sentiment among content cre ators in the past ye ar Content creators aren’t rich, but they’re happy Despite being the lowest paid segment we sur veyed, 56% of content creators have found joy at work compared to 45% of creatives overall. Source: WeTransfer Ideas Repor t 2022 Need a quick break ? Scan to get an interactive version of this data visualization (ooh). 40 % :( N ot pa i d fa i r ly 56 % Fo u n d J oy at wo r k 59 % e x p e ct m o r e m o n e y $ Rewriting romantic my ths of the creative industr y 40 5 — Autonomy

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About 80% of respondents admit that they don’t understand what and other emerging technologies are and how they can . Creatives in Colombia, Brazil, and Mexico are the exception, professionals are eager to dive into Web3, Metaverse, augmented realit y, vir tual realit y, and mixed realit y plat forms. NF t s be mone tized O n e t h i n g M o r e  Source: WeTransfer Ideas Repor t 2022 Rewriting romantic my ths of the creative industr y 41 5 — Autonomy 80 % Don’ t understand nf t s

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lightbulb pen Thrive takes to re ally it what check : re alit y Rewriting romantic my ths of the creative industr y 42

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Their responses have been condensed and lightly edited for clarity. To get a more vivid understanding of this year’s findings, we interviewed six experts about the of living the . Together they represent the mindset of the three sub-groups in our survey. realities “dream job” Rewriting romantic myths of the creative industry 43 Reality check

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Olivia Lopez Creative strategist , author, and host of The Ar t of Travel podcast Raven Smith Vogue columnist and author of bestselling book Trivial Pursuits Marty Bell Tech Entrepreneur, Founder of Poolsuite Marcus Collins Head of Strategy at Wieden+Kennedy, New York Chanté Joseph Freelance writer, digital content producer, and host of the UK Channel 4 series How Not To Be Racist President and Chief Creative Officer, Havas Chicago Myra Nussbaum Rewriting romantic my ths of the creative industr y 44 R eality check

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How ? succes s do define you How do you define success? Has it changed over time? Success is freedom—freedom to choose the right oppor tunities, to car ve time for the moments and experiences that enhance your life. It’s garnering the recognition and resources and feeling the sweat equit y paying off. Success to me looks like managing myself and my work well enough to deliver on my tasks to a high standard and create impact ful work . I think success is being able to play the long game, by having a clear idea of what you want to achieve from ever y oppor tunit y. People of ten ask: “where do you see yourself in X years?” but I have found peace in understanding that success doesn’t necessarily have to be a destination; it isn’t static. There is joy in the journey, tr ying and failing and attempting to create something new. You learn something from the process, even if it fails or you don’t finish it . Success also looks like ownership. There is only so long I would like to lease out my labor. I hope to get to a point where I am in control of something and in a position to give others oppor tunities while sustaining myself. Olivia Chanté Rewriting romantic my ths of the creative industr y 45 Re alit y check

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“To me, success is freedom to explore what I find exciting ever y day.” — Mar t y I’ve felt successful from the da y I could pay myself minimum wage with a creation of my own. To me, success is freedom to explore what I find exciting ever y day. At some point in the last few years I realized I’d gone off- course by unwittingly optimizing my career for financial success. I went through an exercise of redefining what success really means to me. And what came out of that was a realization that I build projects because it makes life more exciting. So now I optimize ever y thing in my life around that . When ever y thing’s exciting, I’m successful. Mart y I’m at the point in my career wh ere I can buy those parmesan crisps at Whole Foods and go to exhibitions mid -week , that feels ver y like I’m winning. Not to sound too much like a Silicon Valley CEO, success for me is always about what’s nex t . What’s on the horizon that I’m excited about or anxious about ? I need both those feelings to feel like I’m, erm, growing? Success for me is grow th, not necessarily bigger or louder, but being at the pit of my depth and not drowning —that’s the thrill. R aven Success is doing the best work wi th the best people for the best clients. I define best not by creative awards won or the size 
 of a client's media budget but by people who have strong character and are willing to work hard to bring truly creative ideas to life. And never forget to have fun while doing so and celebrate success together. This has been my modus operandi for t wo decades, and I don't see it changing any time soon. I believe the core function of marketing is to influence behavior. Ever y thing we do is done in an effor t to get people to move—to buy, to watch, to share, to download, to subscribe, to vote, to wear a mask , to get vaccinated, etc. We put things in the world to get people to move. Therefore, success should be determined based upon whether or not people take action. Myr a Marcu s Rewriting romantic my ths of the creative industr y 46 Re alit y check

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? want skills you do to What skills (technical, tac tical, or emotional) do you want to develop? I would love to dive in and lea rn the concepts and best practices of UX (user experience) more as we move fur ther and fur ther into digital space. I think I do need to become better at learning how to model my ideas from scratch. That could mean learning video editing skills to bring to life a social concept I want to pitch or even trialing something on my own plat forms as a proof of concept . There are also areas in ever y industr y that will require my skillset or abilit y, so becoming more curious and not writing off industries and areas that seem outside of my remit is a huge one. On an emotional level, learning how to push back and ask for more suppor t is key. Asking for help doesn’t mean you’re terrible, it means you need guidance, and ever yone needs that .

 There is also a feeling that if you’re not busy or stressed, you’re not working hard enough. Removing the idea that stress and pressure are signs of a successful career will help me not run out of steam so I can actually do my job well. Olivia Chanté de velop what Rewriting romantic my ths of the creative industr y 47 Re alit y check

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I’d love to be able to detach my work and my life. To be able to view my career as a job like a lot of my friends do. To be able to entirely switch off at 6pm and enter ‘personal life’ mode. Please send advice! I do have a problem with working too much, but mostly because I love it ... but it’s also impor tant to switch off, to touch grass, to swim in the sea, to wander the streets of Lisbon aimlessly without a phone for six hours on a Saturday af ternoon. I’m teaching myself ever y thing I can about the crossovers bet ween the creator and cr ypto economies, as a wave of new ways to fund creative endeavors is on the horizon. We need a better understanding of theor y and to foster insatiable curiosit y. We of ten say, “Oh, that works in theor y but ...” when the truth of the matter is that there is an underlying physics to ever y thing around us. Theor y helps us understand the phenomenal world and how to leverage the controllables that drive more predictable outcomes. My acquisition of theor y has been the biggest cheat code in my career. This is why I star ted a pursuit in academia to complement and augment my practice. The t wo together is a lethal combination. The better we know people, the better our chances of influencing them, which is the core function of marketing. This, of course, requires that we move from a state of cer taint y to a state of curiosit y. This is a state where we obser ve what's around us with inquisitiveness. Comedians are the best at this, by the way. They spend their days just watching people until something makes them go, “hmm, that was interesting.” Perspective and proximit y is key to the future of our industr y. I’m great at communication, I love to chat and tell a stor y. I’m working on my listening. I'm currently interested in understanding more about the media landscape as I believe there's a lot of untapped potential in getting creative with the new ways we stream content . Branded enter tainment is something I'm diving into, and excited about the potential to tell meaningful brand stories with a myriad of creators. At the end of the day, I strive to make ads that enter tain and educate rather than interrupt and annoy. Mart y Marcu s r aven Myr a “Theor y helps us understand the phenomenal world and how to leverage the controllables that drive more predictable outcomes.” — Marcus Rewriting romantic my ths of the creative industr y 48 Re alit y check

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In the rep or t, creatives across the b o ard attest that saying “no” is the most underrated skill. D o es this resonate with your experience? Building strong boundaries arou nd my work and learning to say “no” is a muscle that took a long time to build, es pecially when you’re first star ting out in freelance because you of ten feel th at your skills and ser vice are dispensable. It took many years of bad experien ces to realize that overex tending of ten yielded fruitless labor, of ten over demanding contracts with an ever expanding “scope creep” came from clients that paid the least , or did not understand the value of your work or exper tise. When I star ted working with the companies that I de eply admired, I finally witnessed the ease and flow of good business practic es. In my experience, the most aligned clients and projects see your valu e and wor th— and of ten have the right amount of resources to implement it . Olivia What ’s B uilding e xperience your Boundaries ? Rewriting romantic my ths of the creative industr y 49 Re alit y check

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“Asking myself “In a year, will I regret not doing this?” is a wonder ful way of discovering what’s wor th doing and what’s not” — Mar t y Being a freelance creative means that saying “no” feels difficult if work is precarious and underpaid. I of ten operate within a scarcit y mentalit y, so feel as if when I don’t take something on, it will never come back . This is probably because of my working - class upbringing, where sometimes turning down money feels completely foolish because you’re so used to scraping pennies together. Getting an ADHD diagnosis helped me understand my mind better and advocate for myself when working with brands and companies. Now I know exactly what I’m struggling with and I can be more aware of the specific things I need. Chanté I have found this to be true. A sking myself “In a year, will I regret not doing this?” is a wonder ful way of discovering what’s wor th doing and what’s not . I of ten think about what Pieter Levels [the prolific Dutch internet entrepreneur] says “The only way to get what you want in life is to repeatedly say no to what you don't .” Mart y I’m prett y cutthroat when it com es to setting boundaries, taking time off, and being offline. Book writing for me means completely disengaging from normal life and hunkering down with my laptop and a bunch of feelings. I think as a freelancer who grew up relatively poor, it’s really difficult to say no to any job. It’s usually right for how I’m structuring my time and focus, but I always feel that t winge of regret . I'm more of a yes person than a no person. I prefer to focus on what we can do rather than can't . As a mother of three, I tr y to squeeze the most out of the workday so I can enjoy my family in the evening and on weekends. I want this for ever yone at the agency. Making quick decisions and not second - guessing where a project is headed is the key to maintaining sanit y for ever yone. Plus, I surround myself with talented entrepreneurial thinkers who keep projects moving and grooving. R aven Myr a I'm the wrong person for thi s question. Ha ! I say “yes” to almost ever y thing that makes sense for me because I revere the oppor tunit y. Perhaps this is a vestige from my star t-up days or the fact that I'm a Black man in this countr y [ US A ]. W orking in t wo industries ( adver tising and academia ) where there aren't ver y many of us, I tend to shy away from saying “no” to oppor tunities. S ure, we should say “no” if it's out of our wheelhouse. And, of course, we should say “no” if the oppor tunit y comes at our peril, but it's those same oppor tunities that can change the course of your business. W hat's more impor tant than saying “no” is perhaps having the discernment to know what is a true oppor tunit y and what isn't . That is to say, it's not just saying “no” but knowing when to say “no.” Mar cu s Rewriting romantic my ths of the creative industr y 50 Re alit y check

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? Admire do you who Whose career do you admire or env y ? I’m really drawn to people with multi- disciplinar y practices and have a plat form to produce a range of work . I admire [theater designer] Es Devlin for her “big picture” approach to her fine ar t practice and abilit y to render new worlds through her works. I’ve also always admired Garance Doré, who evolved from being an illustrator, a street st yle photographer, and an author to creating a plat form and communit y called Doré. I am a huge admirer of peopl e that have varied and multi- disciplinar y careers like Ziwe Fumudoh. She’s a talented writer, comedian, presenter, and producer who has really built an incredible plat form for herself as a Black woman in media. I am also obsessed with writers and presenters like Zing Tsjeng doing great journalism and pop culture analysis. Zing is an icon to so many young writers who want to use journalism for good but also want to find new ways to reignite interest in tough conversations around colonialism, identit y, and belonging. I also find creatives like Francesca Ramsy a breath of fresh air; from her days presenting decoded on MT V to writing T V shows on Nickelodeon it is exciting to watch her create. Olivia Chanté Rewriting romantic my ths of the creative industr y 51 Re alit y check

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“Tyler so effor tlessly moves into categories and makes them entirely his own, pulling together music, design, film, and stor y telling in a way that makes ever y thing he touches so distinctively his.” — Mar t y I don’t env y anyone really but t here are people I see thriving that I back forever— David Sedaris, Charlie Brooker, Kate Moss... There’s more I’m sure. I just finished Richard Branson's master class, and I admire, env y, and want to be him. His brand of braver y, enter tainment , and adventure-seeking is second to none. R aven Myr a Dan Ariely. He is the per fec t embodiment of bridging the academic- practitioner gap. His work is prolific, profound, and far-reaching. But most impor tantly, his work helps people. It really helps students, clients, executives, adver tisers, and the layman. That's the kind of impact I hope to have. Marcu s I’m endlessly inspired by Tyler , he Creator and the world of brands he’s building on top of his music career. I believe the best brands in the world are personifications of their founders. Tyler so effor tlessly moves into categories and makes them entirely his own, pulling together music, design, film, and stor y telling in a way that makes ever y thing he touches so distinctively his. Mart y Rewriting romantic my ths of the creative industr y 52 Re alit y check

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What gives you optimism for the future of the industr y ? What worries you the most? What gives me optimism about the future of the industr y is the borderless freedom that remote working offers. What worries me is the unregulated access and demands of constant productivit y. The pros of working in a globalized contex t is directly tied to its cons—it’s wonder ful to work with a range of clients around the world, until you are asked to join a 4am zoom call. Olivia What Are For the Hopes Fe ars and your ? I am excited about how creativit y and content creation are becoming a key par t of all businesses. Banks like JP Morgan are hiring influencer specialists and pushing the button on their creative content . There will be more oppor tunities for cross-industr y collaboration because companies want to appeal to a social -first generation that wants brands to be almost sentient in nature. What worries me the most is the devaluing of creative skills, like the belief that one person can manage social content , strategy, analy tics, and scheduling. The idea that it is “easy ” or you’re “just posting on social media” is becoming a common rebuttal to people who feel like they ’re under valued and unsuppor ted in their roles. Chanté Future Rewriting romantic my ths of the creative industr y 53 Re alit y check

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“People are still reading books. People want more than pictures and well - edited TikToks. Despite the tsunami of digital and video content I think writing will prevail.” — Raven “We have more data but we still lack understanding. That's because we mistake information for intimacy, and they aren't the same.” — Marcus People are still reading books. People want more than pictures and well - edited TikToks. Despite the tsunami of digital and video content I think writing will prevail. There’s nothing like getting lost in a book (essays and ar ticles count too, but they ’re less of a commitment). Books don’t demand your focus like a screen does, so giving that book your full attention is its own achievement . On the other hand, I worr y that Instagram has eroded empathy and Gen Z are shaping up to be relentless killing machines. Mini terminators. Cripes. Despite the chaos and clutter we face ever y day, I believe we have even more oppor tunities to do work that differentiates brands. My biggest worr y is that with a hybrid work model, the nex t generation won't get the mentorship they deser ve and require to understand the ad world. R aven Myr a I'm optimistic for the futur e of our industr y because I see an increasing number of people entering our field who were not “born and bred” marketers or adver tisers. They come from different walks of life and, therefore, they see the world through different lenses. These lenses provide perspectives that might other wise be missed; they help reframe problems. They arrive at unique creative solutions. The par t that worries me most is our lack of intimacy, which is the prolonged challenge I mentioned earlier. We have more data than ever before but we still don't know our customers. We just don't know people well. We still put them in demographic boxes that are easy to construct yet incapable of capturing who they really are, which is paradoxical. We have more data but we still lack understanding. That's because we mistake information for intimacy, and they aren't the same. Intimacy inherently requires proximit y, a level of closeness that is beyond the 0s and 1s. This is the kind of intimacy that helps us put things in the world that get people to move. If we don't know people, then it drastically reduces our abilit y to do that . Marcu s I’m excited about communit y ownership and all of the work being done to build decentrali z ed organi z ations and initiatives; pooling capital and resources together towards common goals in ways that would’ve been impossible just a few years ago. I’m optimistic about people owning more of the companies they buy things from. I’m optimistic about people redefining what ‘ the good life’ really is. I tend not to worr y about the future, I’m not convinced it’s helpful. Whenever I star t to worr y, I push myself into daydreaming about something exciting instead. Mar t y Rewriting romantic my ths of the creative industr y 54 Re alit y check

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What's the most indispensable piece of career advice you've received? Treat ever yone with respect —people will always remember how they felt around you. This might be obvious etiquette for some, but when I worked in fashion, I witnessed how basic decency was not always applied to ever yone. If you’re in a people industr y, treat people kindly. Olivia You’ ve best career Advice Received ? “If it isn’t a hell yes it i s probably a hell no.” It’s a simple idea, and although we cannot sur vive on motivation alone, I think being able to trust your gut and confidently say that something isn’t for you is a good idea. Chanté “If you don’t love it , someone who does is going to obliterate you at it .” – Jack Butcher Mart y Oh, someone said say “yes” to ever y thing the first t wo years of being a freelancer and then do a career stock—ver y astute. That doesn’t really help with the power of “no” coming out of the repor t , but I do think specializing too soon can be limiting. I didn’t quit my full -time job to become a writer, but here we are. R aven Our leadership team s are incredibly suppor tive and generous with their time and suppor t . It ' s not really a piece of advice , but all of them make me feel lik e I can truly be myself, which is the best way to help someone succeed. Myr a If it ' s logical and people don ' t get it then you ' re probably really on to something. Marcu s “If it isn’t a hell yes it is probably a hell no.” — Chanté Rewriting romantic my ths of the creative industr y 55 Re alit y check

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Faye Ehrich Annie Malarkey Project Leads Diana Alcausin Nessim Higson Matt Skibiak Hugo Timm Creative direction Tara Goutermout Brand strategy director Leanne Joseph Lily Darby Creative production Abbie Robinson Robyn Collinge Copywriting Everton Santos Flávio Lourenço Motion design Mikee Silva Cristiana Sousa Meryem Meghraoua Elena Tisato Gabriel Santiago Art direction / design Simon Riisnæs Dagfinrud Giulian Drimba Lorenzo Migliorero Jason Bradley Angelo Vreeswijk D igita l deve l op m ent Ange Temple C h ie f m ar k eting offi cer Julia Shapiro V P o f Mar k eting Holly Fraser E ditor in C h ie f TR IP T K Anne Q uito R esearc h partners Sierra W inrow S ocia l m edia l ead Chloe P recey Project m anage m ent l ead Damian Bradfield C h ie f c reative offi cer Annematt Rusele r Leonora Chanc e I ngrid V ä lk Pu bl ic r e l ations p eo p le The Wh et h er it ’ s designing intuitive too l s to get ideas on t h e m ove or b ui l ding b ig , b eauti f u l ads t h at don ’ t get in t h e way , W e T rans f er h as a l ways l oo k ed at creativit y a l itt l e di ff erent l y . H aving m ade its na m e in t h e ga m e o f q uic k and si m p l e fil e - s h aring , W e T rans f er h as grown into a suite o f creative productivity too l s wit h m ore t h a n 80 m i ll ion m ont hl y active users in 190 countries . ©2 0 2 1 W e T rans f er A ll rig h ts reserve d
 N o part o f t h is report m ay b e reproduced in any f or m b y any e l ectroni c or m ec h anica l m eans ( inc l uding p h otocopying , recording , or in f or m ation storage and retrieva l ) wit h out per m ission in writing f ro m t h e pu bl is h er . ideasrepor t .com/2022  W eTrans f er was f ounded in 2009 as the simplest way to send big files around the world . Rewriting romantic my ths of the creative industr y 56 The e nd

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The WeTransfer Ideas Report lightbulb pen

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