Careers in heritage – a challenging landscape

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The pandemic has affected the jobs market and career paths for many already working in the heritage sector, whether as a result of organisational crisis or operational response to Covid resulting in furlough, job reduction or loss, and the need for reskilling and resilience building on a personal and professional level to manage a way through a year of uncertainty.

There is a further group of aspiring workers trying to enter or develop their career within the sector: 2 years’ worth of students who graduated in 2020 and those about to graduate in the summer or autumn of 2021 are also searching for opportunities and advice. I’m currently working on an updated version of the Heritage Careers Guide published in late 2019 in association with BEFS and The Heritage Alliance, and am reviewing the best places to go to for advice and jobs listings, as well as gathering some excellent resources which have appeared over the past year as a result of Covid-19 to support professional development and up- or re-skilling. I’m also cognisant of the aims of organisations such as Fair Museum Jobs to support a healthy, equal and supportive employment environment in the sector, and am hoping to include some commentary from the FMJ team on what to look for in an employer.

In the meantime before the new guide appears here, some useful updated advice and resources have been made available on the Museums Association website, and UCL’s Careers Service has produced a specific podcast recording of a panel discussion with really useful perspectives on jobs and recruitment in the Museums, Arts & Cultural Heritage sector (see Episode 2).

Author: Ian Baxter

Heritage management / historic preservation academic at Heriot-Watt University; Vice-Chair of the Built Environment Forum Scotland (BEFS); Trustee of The Heritage Alliance. Obsessed by administrative histories of heritage organisations, heritage signs, and the design of site guidebooks.

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