Age is just a number

Age is just a number. You’re not a number you’re a great candidate!

How to approach a career change at 40 plus.

nothing is impossible


What would make you really happy? If you could switch jobs now, what would inspire and interest you enough to make you want to rise early and go to work with enthusiasm and a sense of purpose every day?


Perhaps you think it’s too late? It might be true that given the years of study it requires, the career in law you wish you had pursued is now out of reach, but with a bit of thought you might find a related role in which you can use the wealth of skills and abilities you have built up over the years as you took a different direction.


Self belief is where this re-evaluation process has to start. To tell yourself that you can’t achieve your goal is to admit defeat before trying. The fear of failure can induce failure, and before you know it you’re on a downward spiral without giving yourself a fighting chance. Don’t waste time on regrets and start your positive thinking journey now. Sometimes we just have to dare to dream.


Take stock and think laterally


So, you know what you should have done twenty years ago. At forty plus it might be too late to start your career as an athlete or psychologist, but maybe you could still become an athletics mentor or train to become a counsellor; both roles in which experience is valued over youth. It’s time to look at the offshoot careers. Consider the length of the academic courses you might need to do, along with any further training, internships or voluntary work that are expected to achieve your goal. Also consider if at the end of the process you will have the competitive edge against other twenty-something applicants. Does the profession you are considering value experience, or is it associated primarily with younger graduates? If the role fits into this stereotype, would you really be happy working in that environment anyway? This is the time to take a step back and look objectively at career paths, and in turn to look inwards at where you are right now, and where you would feel comfortable in being in the future.


Seek advice


In the UK, despite anti-discrimination laws, age can be viewed in a negative way. In comparison with for example Japan, where life expectancy is longer and culturally age is associated with wisdom, the UK workplace can seem like an unnecessarily biased environment. To build your confidence and gain that psychological edge, don’t be above asking for help to bring about the change you desire. Attend career development seminars, approach CV writing services, job coaches and employment counsellors. Other opinions are invaluable, and professional job search personnel might be able to help you take a step back and see the opportunities you are missing by being too close to the problem.


Ask yourself if this is the right time to make a radical career change. It’s a big step and other aspects of your life need to be stable in order for you to focus all your energies on your career. While you make the transition, maybe you will need to take on a low stress part time job to keep afloat financially. Temporary work as a means to an end could help you pay for a professional development course, and if the work is in any way related to your new career, then that’s even better! Your transferable skills are building all the time.



Keep a sense of perspective


To bring clarity and insight, write a list of all your skills and achievements relevant to your dream job. Start a blog or a website related to where you aspire to be. This will also help with job applications and will build your credibility in the profession. Talk to people already working in your chosen career both in person and online. If possible attend relevant networking events. Start to say ‘yes’ to opportunities coming your way, you never know where they might lead. Often your career path unfolds naturally, but if the direction feels wrong, accept that it’s a mistake and take a sideways step. Don’t dwell on mistakes or obsess for too long about making a decision. Constantly worrying about what might go wrong will not help. Life is full of uncertainties and while you spend time worrying you could be missing an opportunity. Lead an interesting life, socialise and seek out different experiences and people. It will help you to decide where and what you want to be, and if nothing else it will make life much more entertaining.


While you go through this transition keep things in perspective. Look at this new experience in a positive way, it’s an exciting time and this could be your best year yet! Learn to bounce back when things get tough, and be prepared to make sacrifices because you know that your future happiness and success are worth the struggle. Be resilient and strong. Find your niche and sell your unique self to the best of your abilities.


Sell yourself, be yourself


Finally, create your own success by offering your skills speculatively to employers. Make doors open by suggesting how your skills might benefit their organisation. Be polite, professional and warm, and try not to take it personally if your ideas are not accepted. Putting so much emphasis on every attempt creates too much pressure. Yes it’s important, but at the end of the day it’s just a job. Show enthusiasm and charisma and enjoy the process of meeting the people you might be working with soon. If they like you but can’t employ you for whatever reason, they might be able to suggest other departments or workplaces you might try. Look at it as a networking exercise rather than as employers assessing you. If you can do the job and come across as being good to be around you are more than half way there. Why would they not want to work with you? As in all things there are no guarantees, but a calculated risk taken now could mean a look back with no regrets in the future. Surely it’s worth taking your best shot at achieving this today?


Gloss Hot Jobs March 2017!


Spring is here and it’s time to shake off that seasonal adjustment disorder! We have been mage busy and the top jobs just keep coming! We’re very proud to be able to offer some of the very best roles within the creative, digital, Marketing and PR sectors.

This March we have chosen three exciting specs that are so hot we had to write them in our shorts. All of them offer creativity and progression so if you are interested in any of these positions, please get in touch via email at or call our team on 0113 209 5705.

Web Team Leader – Inhouse: Online retail, excellent salary and very urgent, West Yorkshire. Find out more.

Junior Web Designer / Developer – Leeds : Agency, Long established, Amazing trainging, Leeds. Find out more.

Highly Creative Artworker –Agency: Heritage Sector, industry leader, Visitor Centre background and Exhibition experience, West Yorkshire. Find out more.

If you have any questions about one of the below positions, feel free to email us on, or contact our offices on 0113 2095705.

Career Evolution

In celebration of International Women’s Day this week, we wanted to present a piece highlighting what creative choices a woman from Generation X had when aspiring to be and finally becoming a creative in Yorkshire.

Career Evolution

By Ruth Parker


I was always a creative kid. Sitting up a tree wearing my signature cowboy hat, I took endless photos with the camera my parents bought me, blowing my spending money on 35mm film and ice pops. At Christmas I asked for art and craft supplies and was told to ‘smile and be nice’ if anyone bought me a doll.

My dad was always interested in art and I remember him going out to paint beautiful landscapes in summer at 6am before he started his shift at the Gas Board, his creative career unfulfilled to be the providing father and husband he chose to be. There’s a lesson to be learned here. Previous generations had to accept a role.

My mum in turn became a housewife even after passing a difficult grammar school scholarship exam, as she was not awarded funding. She led an uncomplaining life but was unable to become the academic she wanted to be. It’s reassuring to know that this is not the way it has to be these days.

Although my parents aspirations were never fulfilled they passed on their dreams. Dad would take me out sketching on long walks around Haworth where I grew up, and tell me tales about his travels around the world with the army, thereby laying the foundation for my future plans. It was a wonderful Swallows and Amazons type childhood.

Art and English have always been my thing. I love playing with language and I like books as aesthetic objects that open up a world of knowledge on every subject imaginable.

Books took me to far away places and the visual was always significant to me. Even the design and copy on food packaging fascinated me. Pineapple chunks all the way from Africa and space age Vesta curry in packets.

Vest Curry Packaging

1970’s Vesta Curry 


Life for a kid in the 1970’s seemed to be on the cutting edge of technology. David Bowie and I would soon be going to the moon. How amazing would that be! I became fascinated with travel and where all the brightly coloured packaging came from. I read and wrote incessantly, scribbling poems, stories and disjointed prose, just writing for the sake of writing. I didn’t realise it at the time but all this was shaping a future in art, design and copy.

I left school with no real direction in mind. Careers advice was non-existent back then and as I didn’t want to be a secretary or a nurse I was regarded as a bit of an oddity. I wanted to be an artist, writer, philosopher … I was a dreamer, but I was handed leaflets on secretarial training.

These days creative aspirations would be nurtured. How times have changed. The attitude seemed to be that I would be married with kids soon, so why bother.  At this stage I was questioning everything. I was interested in world religions and the Humanities. I told the careers officer this and was asked if I wanted to become a nun. I remember feeling very misunderstood and didn’t raise the question again. Looking back it really was the dark ages. The women who marched and protested for a more equal society in the 1960’s were still making their voices heard, and the Dagenham women went on strike for equal pay, but attitudes were slow to change.

When I left school I went to my local library and found a course in art and design running at a local technical college. I worked hard and passed the course, but it didn’t bring the career I expected when I left.

In the 1980’s all the guys were in trades and all the girls took office jobs with the Civil Service. I joined them and went to work for the Inland Revenue as an Administrator.

1980s Secretary

1980’s office job


The turning point at work came when a colleague had a breakdown and threw a computer out of a fourth floor office window. It’s a miracle he didn’t kill anyone in the car park below, because as anyone who’s seen the ‘80’s series ‘Ashes to Ashes’ will know, computer hardware back in those days was big and heavy. Barry was coming up for retirement and obviously felt very unfulfilled. He was taken away for counselling before being quietly dismissed. How his flipping out and subsequent dismissal affected his pension I don’t know, but I do know that his conformity to the point of insanity was a working life wasted. Another colleague at the same time left to become a prostitute. It really was that boring.

Workers seemed to either accept the job as a temporary measure or it became a lifetime of security. I decided to move on before the urge to trash my workspace took control of me or it became too late to leave.

In 1986 I enrolled on a Foundation Studies course at Bradford College of Art & Design. Back in the day, students were funded with generous grants which, looking back, was an enormous privilege. The downside of funding was that places were fiercely competitive. In the days before students became ‘customers’, arguably the quality of work was much higher and the industry benefited.

We worked incredibly hard and Bradford College then produced exceptional candidates who went on to study at schools such as Goldsmiths, Central St Martins and the Slade. I decided to go down the sensible industry route and train to be a graphic designer. I was accepted at Cleveland College of Art & Design and set off for a career in this exciting new world. It would provide a sure fire job at the end of the course and the money (the course tutors assured me) would be very good too. Looking back…I’d advise anyone to question everything!

By the time I graduated with my HND, many other people had done so too. The market was saturated and jobs were scarce. The technology we were using at the time was basic but it was developing quickly, and six months out of the game meant you were no longer up to speed. The qualification counted for little and you were virtually unemployable.

I supplemented part time teaching with part time freelance art and design jobs, and started eventually to do more fine art work which I touted around the commercial galleries. From teaching business studies I moved on to teach graphics and worked with course leaders to write BTEC programmes.

In addition to work in education, which is invariably part time and on a short term contract basis, (but it has to be said, with an excellent hourly rate), I worked as a freelance artist and designer. Offshoot skills gained from this included marketing and project management. Work in the visual arts continually calls for a high level of lateral thinking. You have to be resourceful, tenacious and adaptable to maintain work in this industry, and sitting around waiting for inspiration is not an option.

Art has opened doors that would otherwise have remained closed, and the people I’ve met along the way have been fascinating. It has however been hard work and at times I’ve juggled with self funded studies and employment to achieve both my academic and professional qualifications.

I’ve survived by being good at networking and only a few of the jobs I’ve had have been found through formal application and interview. What was my initial career path has changed and evolved into something quite different over the years.

I always despair when art students say they’ve chosen this path ‘cuz it’s easy’. My immediate reaction is to think ‘well you’d better learn to ask the customer if they want fries with their order if you honestly believe that, because you’ll never be an artist’. Of course as a tutor I wasn’t allowed to say it, but I did try and change a few peoples way of thinking and redirect them to a less challenging career path.

A creative life takes nerves of steel. It’s uncertain, the pay can be low and sometimes there’s no pay at all. I’ve encountered many sharks in this business who regard artists as the lowest form of life to be exploited, and I’ve had to develop a thick skin not to take rejection as a personal insult. I still struggle with that one as to do anything well you have to invest both your time and passion. It’s more than a job. Artists tend to be sensitive souls and it can be difficult to maintain a hard, business like exterior and to see things objectively.

So how do we make it pay? Well that’s the million dollar question isn’t it! While I was at Bradford College David Hockney was always, and rightly so, held aloft as an icon in the art world. He made the grade, lived in LA and enjoyed world fame. Kudos to you Mr Hockney. It might also be worth mentioning that his work is typical of the house style at Bradford College of Art & Design. Take a look at his early work at Salts Mill in Saltaire. He’s talented but not by any means remarkable.

The difference between success and failure is that Hockney has been a great self publicist. He went to London and put himself in a situation where fame found him. He networked and networked well. With hindsight I’d do the same. I’ve done OK but not as well as David Hockney, so perhaps there’s a lesson to be learnt. It’s worth altering your mind set to get where you want to be. Raw talent is not always rewarded but strategic thinking is.

David Hockney

David Hockney


Moving from the visual arts into copywriting at this stage in life seems like a natural progression. Writing in its many forms has been ongoing throughout my life, it’s just one of the things I do, so to do it professionally seems logical. It’s not so much a career change in my fifties as a sideways step into another related field of work. On the plus side copywriting is a career that if we choose we don’t have to retire from.

It’s heartening that new technology has opened up a world of opportunity where we can all work online from anywhere, and for as long as our health permits if we choose to. Creativity is certainly more of a lifestyle than a job, and being a practitioner in any art-form is never purely about the money (although money undeniably helps, anyone who tells you not to stress about money is either a fool or has never been poor). Being a creative is about doing what we do because it’s who we are, and conversely, the job and the strength of character it demands shape our personality.

The ‘job for life’ of the last generation it seems is confined to the past, but the luxury of living in a free society, of being a generation who has not had to suffer the trauma of war, and who have been granted the opportunity to be who and what we want to be is remarkable.

New technology is to be embraced as it offers freedom and opportunities to people of all ages and in all situations. The core skills of good writing and good design are a constant, it’s just the tools that we use are evolving. Chameleon-like we have to adapt or be left behind. As ever it’s a challenge but to be challenged can be a good thing. To greet each working day with interest and enthusiasm is wonderful, and in addition to keeping afloat financially, surely that’s all that matters. The future looks promising. Bring it on!

Ruth Parker


‘Ruth Parker is an artist, designer and further education professional in the visual arts. With experience of writing content targeting a wide range of clients, she has worked both as an in-house and remote working contractor’. Ruth’s LinkedIn profile 


Happy New Year with 10% terms for all our client’s until 4th February 2017!


Happy new year, welcome back and we hope you’ve had time to recharge!

It’s that time of year again when we are offering all clients – old and new – our annual 10% terms for any placements that are made from now until 4th February 2017.

We’ve had many great applications from talented candidates looking for a new beginning so give us a shout if you are looking to fill any roles within the creative / digital / marketing / pr sector.

For our cherished candidates, we’re ready to help with any careers advice you need and to provide you with all the options to make this your year.

Let’s GO!

Gloss Hot Jobs – November


There’s a definite chill in the air and 2016 is coming to its conclusion, but the top jobs just keep coming! We’re very proud to be able to offer some of the very best roles within the creative, digital, Marketing and PR sectors.

This November we have chosen three positions  that come with real challenge and opportunity, and will be equally rewarding for the right candidates. If you are interested in any of these positions, please get in touch via email at or call our team on 0113 209 5705.

Magento Developer Role – Inhouse Knaresborough: Online retail, excellent salary and urgent, North Yorkshire. Find out more.

PR Manager– York PR Agency: B2B, Long established, Amazing Benefits, York. Find out more.

MW to Senior Graphic Designer – Huddersfield: Heritage Sector, industry leader, Visitor Centre background and Exhibition experience, West Yorkshire. Find out more.

If you have any questions about one of the below positions, feel free to email us on, or contact our offices on 0113 2095705.

We’re 10 Years Old!


We are 10!

Gloss Creative Recruitment hit a huge milestone this year. It’s hard to believe, but for more than a decade, we’ve been helping the fantastic creatives of Yorkshire find permanent work, freelance and find talent, all while providing insights and guidance to career development – from entry level to directorship. Yes, we’ve grown and accomplished a lot, but we are still very entrepreneurial — especially in an industry and county that is constantly evolving and teaching us new things.

A lot of things have changed since 2006. Our office locations have moved around a few times and we finally landed in our current digs in Wellington Place. We launched Gloss Creative Recruitment, Gloss Engineering, Creative Protege and will soon be looking to expand across the Pennines too (watch this space) – all to make sure your recruitment experience and the consultation you’re getting is the best it can be.

We’ve loved every minute of the 10 years we’ve spent as one of Yorkshire’s leading creative recruiters, but we couldn’t have done it without you. So, thanks for making us your go-to creative source for people.

Take a look at a quick video we made to say a huge THANK YOU to all of our candidates, clients and suppliers and here’s to another 10 more years to come!

Click here to see our thank you video!


Gloss Creative Recruitment Salary Survey Results 2015

stairs up rising challenge


Welcome to our latest and much anticipated annual salary survey!

We bring you our latest salary findings from candidates that have passed our comprehensive filtering process to make it onto the Gloss ‘cream of the crop’ database for 2015! Focusing on salaries from across the Digital / Creative / Marketing and PR industries, it gives us great pleasure to present to you an analysis and summary on what these figures represent to our local industry.


We’ve had two record breaking years thanks to the upturn in the economy allowing many of our Yorkshire based clients to expand. Growth has been far reaching across many sectors; however, this climatic acceleration is bringing about a few new challenges too.

A broad spectrum of our clients, both agency and inhouse, have been recruiting for permanent or short term contracts due to expansion. As a result, demand for essential specialised talent has been high. This rise in requirements has seen the pendulum shift in momentum from companies to candidates, creating a candidate short market (especially around the middleweight level) and a corresponding effect on salaries.


For what seems like an awful long time (around 8 years) the market is finally moving with rising wages.  Stagflation has been the message in the past few years but we can definitely confirm that salaries are undoubtedly rising (see below).

The biggest trend within design has been the major skills shortages beginning to emerge within certain pockets of the sector.  This lack of available talent is now becoming apparent for those that specialise within creative and print.

Graphic design salaries are gradually beginning to come in line with digital design salaries which, is unprecedented!  Traditional Graphic designers can now rejoice in the lifting of the salary ceiling that has been held in place for nearly a decade.


There has been continued demand for digital experts both in-house and agency, with shortages still evident across a range of different technical skill sets. Salaries, however, have not moved a great deal…yet!  Watch this space, as we predict this could change very soon!

The digital sector is being stretched thin with lack of supply (which used to be limited to more back end, coding positions) now becoming apparent within front end developer and digital web design roles. Interestingly, salaries haven’t moved up a great deal on the technical positions but more within the creative / designer roles.

There has been a scarcity of strong, commercially viable and cutting edge portfolios (mostly from MW level upwards) and we do believe that it won’t be long before salaries will jump in this sector soon if the trend continues.

These present conditions indicate that it is still possible to incentivise web candidates away from their current situation with a much anticipated pay rise – something that might be worth doing sooner before market forces raise them organically in the very near future!

Marketing, PR, Social and Copywriting

The leading trend observed in this division has been the swing from agency candidates switching to inhouse roles. With digital, social media and analytics taking centre stage, digital marketing is now the predominant engine of growth for many companies and many of our larger clients in particular, have been looking to bring these functions in house.

Shortages are now prevalent (again from the middleweight range upwards) in account handlers, PR and copywriting candidates. Another observation has been the rise in marketing agency salaries which, are now starting to catch up with equivalent inhouse positions…another first within a decade.

Finally, many senior permanent (and some less experienced) creative candidates have turned to a life of freelance in the pursuit of a modern work /life balance!  Those that do, stipulate the chance to earn more money and to be able to enjoy a more flexible working lifestyle as the main reason.   It’s another good sign of market sentiment as candidates take this route out of choice and not out of necessity as we have seen in previous years.

Please take a look below at some of our findings and don’t hesitate to get in touch if you would like us to find out anything specific to do with salaries in your particular market.  We are always grateful to receive any feedback or comments on our efforts/thoughts/reflections and hope this latest survey is of some use to you.


Key trends:

  1. Rise in salaries for traditional / print / branding sector but not so in digital.
  2. Agency salaries have caught up with inhouse salaries.
  3. Low availability of candidates especially around the middleweight level.


Job Min (£K) Max (£K) Ave (£K) Comments
Junior Artworker (1 to 3 years) 15 20 17.22 Definite rise
MW Artworker (3 to 5 years) 18 24 20.4 Candidate shortage, raised salaries
Senior Artworker (5 years+) 20 30 23.3 Definite rise
Studio Manager 25 35 31.3 Definite rise
Junior Designers Agency (1 to 3 years) 14 20 17.7 Definite rise
Junior Designers Inhouse (1 to 3 years) 15 22 17.6 No change
MW Designers Agency (3 to 5 years) 18 27 22 Candidate shortage, raised salaries
MW Designers Inhouse (3 to 5 years) 19 28 23.5 Candidate shortage, raised salaries
Senior Designers Agency (5 years+) 24 35 28.4 Definite rise
Senior Designers Inhouse (5 years+) 24 30 26.2 Slight rise
Design Manager 28 35 30.1 No change
Creative Director 35 45 37.5 Candidate shortage, no change
Job Min (£K) Max (£K) Ave (£K) Comments
Marketing (Agency)    
Account Execs 16 24 18.44 Candidate shortage, No change
Account Managers 24 32 29 Candidate shortage, raised salaries
Account Directors 40 50 45 Candidate shortage, raised salaries
Marketing (Inhouse)    
Exec 15 24 19.5 No change
Manager 26 40 31.2 Slight rise
Director 45 64 54.3 Definite rise
Web Design        
Junior Designer (1 to 3 years) 15 24 18.5 Candidate shortage, no change
MW Designer (3 to 5 years) 20 28 23.2 Candidate shortage, no change
Senior Designer (5 years+) 25 32 30 Candidate shortage, no change
Digital Marketing (Agency)  
Exec 18 26 22.2 Candidate shortage, no change
Manager 25 40 29.7 Slight rise
Director 50 60+ 52.5 Definite rise
Digital Marketing (Inhouse)  
Exec 16 25 20.7 Candidate shortage, no change
Manager 24 40 31.8 Candidate shortage, no change
Director 40 65+ 50 Candidate shortage, no change
Content 15 25 20 No change
PPC 16 45 24 Candidate shortage, no change
SEO 15 40 25.3 Candidate shortage, no change
PR Roles        
PR Executive 15 25 20.3 Candidate shortage, raised salaries
PR Manager 21 35 29.1 Candidate shortage, raised salaries
Comms 18 35 25.3 No change
Junior Copywriter 18 23 19.5 Definite rise
MW Copywriter 20 27 23.1 Definite rise
Senior Copywriter 24 38 30.6 Definite rise


The data summarised in this survey has been collated from candidates that have registered with our agency within the last year and are based on actual submitted salaries rather than the upper limit of client job specs. Please note that Gloss Creative Recruitment operates on Permanent and contract positions both Inhouse and agency only within the Yorkshire area.

For more information please visit or call us on 0870 321 9788