Pick up any of the recent books by Seth Godin, author and marketing guru, or Daniel Pink, author and journalist, and you will start to see a trend. One that moves the industrial economy to the back seat and puts creatives front and center. Not for the visually pleasing work that designers produce, but for their creative problem solving.
The Right-Brain Rules
With the death of the industrial economy, comes an opportunity for the right-brainers to take over. The economical system of the last several decades relied on manufacturing jobs, corporate conglomerates, whose efficiency was measured in compliance (being on time, meeting the goals, filling out forms, following processes, improving processes, managing processes). Artists were often considered outcasts, an inefficient part of society, broken links unwilling or unable to follow the “process.” Today”s economy demands more critical thinking and creative problem solving than process following. Who better for the job than a trained designer.
“Artists shake things up. They invent as they go; they respond to inputs and create surprising new outputs.”
–from Linchpin: Are You Indispensable” by Seth Godin
A Demand For Creatives
According to Career Builder, creative jobs are very much in demand, especially those that relate to the online world. The future of the interior design industry is also looking up. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of employment opportunities in this specialized design service industry will increase by 19%, from 56,500 in 2010 to 67,400 in 2020. This is a nationwide projection, but a positive one nonetheless. With a median hourly rate of $22.25 and an average salary of $46,280, this isn”t the most lucrative career, but it sure is rewarding.
It”s Not About The Money
Many of us choose interior design as a professional career not for the money, but the personal fulfillment and the value we bring to the community. We may have creative inclinations, but most importantly, we strive to better people”s lives, whether at home, work or at play. In the world that is more about technology and less about the people and the interactions between them, designing spaces that promote socialization, create positive remembrance and a need to come back will become a priority. In addition, environmentally conscious building practices and generally accessible interiors are something consumers and companies ask for more and more.
I Graduated! What”s Next”
Despite a faster than average industry growth prediction (19% as opposed to 14% – U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics), the traditional interior designer employment has been scarce and less than necessary to provide every graduating student with a job. According to the last industry research summary done by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation [CIDA], there have been 14,495 students, who completed and graduated with an interior design degree from a CIDA-accredited program, in the last three academic years.
On the other hand, only 2,819 were employed at the time of this survey being conducted. That”s less than 20%. Graduates will have to apply their creative thinking and search for non-traditional employment options. Offering a unique approach to design, or supplementary skill set such as graphic design, writing, photography, etc., will become a necessity to remain relevant and competitive. Understanding of the business process and being able to assist in its conception and execution will ensure one”s unmatched value and irreplaceable position.
“Our jobs require multitasking. Our communities are multicultural. Our entertainment is multimedia. While detailed knowledge of a single area once guaranteed success, today the top rewards go to those who can operate with equal aplomb in starkly different realms.”
–from A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future by Daniel Pink
The creative economy is here to stay. It is our job to figure out a way to contribute and benefit from it!
Aga Artka, Allied ASID, LEED AP, and Jenny Schrank, Allied ASID, work together to educate and motivate young design professionals to take charge of their lives and build careers of their dreams. They started a career building newsletter and are working on a career development publication, which is planned to be released in 2014.
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