The great news about working in the media industry is that there is good money to be made. You’re unlikely to be as wealthy as some of the presenters and on-screen talent you are working with. However, once you are established, you should be able to earn much more than the average annual wage.
The real problem is getting yourself to the stage where you are established and finding regular employment. Because of the competition to get into the industry you may find that at the start of your career you are hideously under-paid and often working for no money at all. This is an extremely difficult time, particularly if you have a large student loan to pay off. So you need to factor this in to your thinking and plan accordingly, as you will need some level of financial support even if you are able to live with your family.
As a rule of thumb the BBC pay less than the independent companies and it can be harder to move up to higher paying roles. The BBC also keep records of exactly what you’ve been paid on each contract, so it can be difficult to get more money if you are offered a job with the same job title. They are often reluctant to give freelance contracts and prefer to offer PAYE short-term contracts.
To get a range of tax benefits, many people set themselves up as sole traders or limited companies (with just one employee – you), but this only works if an employer is willing to take you on as a freelancer.
At the most senior levels, executives and commissioners earn six figure salaries. There are of course those high profile media tycoons; if you want to be a millionaire then you need the entrepreneurial flare to set up your own media company. Then it just needs to be hugely successful. Now there’s a challenge!