Skills for creative industries graduate success

Ruth Bridgstock (ARC Centre for Excellence in Creative Industries and Innovation, Queensland University of Technology, Kelvin Grove, Australia)

Education + Training

ISSN: 0040-0912

Publication date: 15 February 2011



Although there is increasing evidence that the creative industries are essential to national economic growth as well as social and cultural well‐being, creative graduates often find it difficult to become established professionally. This study aims to investigate the value of career management competence and intrinsic career motivations (as elements of “protean career orientation”) in predicting positive graduate outcomes.


Self‐report surveys were administered to 208 creative industries graduates from two Australian universities at two points in time: at course completion, and one year later.


The paper finds that individual career management competence and intrinsic work motivations, measured at course completion, were significant predictors of early career success, using both subjective and objective measures, measured one year later.

Practical implications

This study suggests that an emphasis on student development beyond the traditional “key” employability skills may well be worthwhile. The paper also suggests a broad learning and teaching approach by which universities can encourage the development of student career identity, and thus engender student intrinsic career motivations and career self management skills and behaviours.


This is one of the first studies to demonstrate empirically a link between a particular set of skills and graduate outcomes. In addition, it provides insights into the role of student career motivations in positive transitions to the world of work in the creative industries.



Bridgstock, R. (2011), "Skills for creative industries graduate success", Education + Training, Vol. 53 No. 1, pp. 9-26.

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Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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