Which is more elusive?
White-collar jobs are tasks performed in an office or administrative setting, mostlyprofessional, managerial or administrative work. This is what is generally known as a 9-5 job because the idea out there is that you sit in a not-so-comfortable chair, huddled in a corner writing a report or attending ‘boring’ board meetings. InKenya, these include accountants, clerks, and managers.
What about creative industry jobs? These are economic activities which take an information-based approach as it focuses on the generation or exploitation of knowledge. This includes jobs in film, art, advertising, fashion, music, TV, software, architecture, design and publishing. They are touted as the jobs of the future and are viewed to be ‘luxurious’, healthy and ‘cool’ in this age of Instagram. Creativity and ideas form the bedrock for these 21st-century jobs.
In Kenya, with the ever-increasing unemployment rate, many people especially the youth have ventured into the creative industry/ economy as the office job still remains elusive.
But what could be the differences between these types of jobs and do they share any similarities?
In both fields, you have to invest your time to achieve society’s definition of success. White-collar jobs are characterized by long hours, keeping up with strict bosses and long staff meetings. Though creative jobs are less stressful and ‘free’, to earn a living, you must consume a lot of time to get the projects done. Hard work applies whether you are designing a company’s logo in your basement or compiling complex financial reports for the next board meeting.
Office jobs are scarce which is statistically true because universities are churning out graduates every year yet fewer jobs are being created within the same period of time. The unemployment rate now stands at 7.4%. It should be noted that the creative sector has been touted as the alternative but it’s not a smooth ride either because getting gigs in the industry requires resilience and networking. It all boils down to having the right skills for the job. The same way we have young graduates lacking jobs, young creative workers also have skills yet they wake up every day to scout for gigs.
Monetary benefits form our decision to throw the blanket away and smell the coffee. Everyone working in an office has a dream to get to the corner office, have a car grant, health insurance, a mortgage plan and a six-figure salary. Creatives too like and need money as well. It’s not a secret that creative artists have bills to pay too. To meet their basic needs, they have to take many gigs. The Creative industries have been dubbed the next frontier with the Kenyan film industry earnings totaling into billions of shillings but some creative workers on the lower end of the food chain are feeling the bite. In both worlds, money is a driving factor though passion is often the fuel.
Millennials prefer creative jobs to office jobs. They prefer working at their own time, being their own boss and taking a vacation when they need it rather than sitting behind a closed door, typing emails and rummaging through files. These two are distinct worlds.
Office jobs are typically 9-5 jobs but creative jobs fall in no time label. This has been the biggest discussion when comparing the two job types. While for an office job, you have to report to your station of work at a specified time, creative jobs depend on the scope of your project and schedule. The narrative has always been that creative workers are their own bosses. In an age of mental fitness, work, and technology stress, more people are opting for jobs that are accommodating. Less physical activity in white-collar jobs has been mentioned as an underlying cause of lifestyle diseases such as obesity, hypertension, fatigue, and cancer.
This refers to the exploitation of your ideas, creativity, talents, and skills. Blue-collar jobs require you to have these sets of knowledge but in rare cases are they exploited to an optimum level. This may be due to the rigidity of the work culture in the corporate industry. In the creative industry, the basis of jobs is putting to maximum use your skills and ingenuity to produce ideal works. The creative sector is more information-driven as it heaps importance on the generation of knowledge through creativity.
Creative jobs are more receptive to latest technology innovations than office jobs. Though the corporate is now embracing modern technology trends such as the use of social media to communicate with employees, the creative culture itself is a product of technology. Ten years ago, film productions were expensive as you needed expensive equipment. Fast forward to today, people record and edit videos on their smart-phones and post online as web-series and that’s their job.
White-collar jobs were the preserve of educated and elite men and women of the society. Then we ushered in a new era of creative jobs which caused a paradigm shift in the market. Both job types are fulfilling depending on your interests so go for the one which fully exploits your imaginations and skills.
Creative jobs are the future of the job market in this era of an information society. Amazon, a leading e-commerce company has already begun shedding off white-collar jobs by automating some of their jobs. Tesla, a car company, is cutting 3000 white-collar jobs to appear profitable. All these points to a shift towards the creative economy. For white-collar workers, if you are a creative genius, no robot will replace you. The choice is yours.