Three high-paying media roles that don’t require a degree

Three high-paying media roles that don’t require a degree

As organisations look to alternatives to recruit and retain talent, what media roles that do not require degrees?

How many times has an industry peer asked where you studied?

It’s a tedious and loaded question, but thankfully its days may be numbered. The paper ceiling is crumbling.

That’s according to a Gartner report on future trends in employment, which says employers are now putting more emphasis on skill-based recruiting than academic credentials.

In order to attract a broader pool of talent, major companies such as Google, Delta Airlines, Zoho, and Accenture have already removed many of their degree requirements from job ads, and many more are following suit.

So whether you’re internally-developed talent or new to an organisation, there’s now a big focus on Skilled Through Alternative Routes (STARs) employees, who make up a huge part of the workforce.

This change is a reaction to a competitive job market, as well as a proactive adaptation to a longer-term reality: as the number of college degrees awarded declines, organisations must find new ways to develop or hire the talent they need.

Of course, some roles are so new that formal education isn’t widely available for them either.

Let’s take a closer look at three in the media.

Social media manager

Once considered a bit of a novelty — “What? You sit on Facebook all day?” — media businesses of all sizes now know the power of social media in building brand awareness, engaging with readers, and crucially, driving clicks.

As a result, the role of social media manager has become increasingly sought-after and well-compensated.

In this role, you’re responsible for developing and executing social media strategies, creating and curating engaging content, analysing metrics, and fostering online communities.

With the right combination of creativity, written communication skills, visual chops, and a deep understanding of various social media platforms, you can carve out a lucrative career in this field.

While formal education in marketing, communications, or a related field can be beneficial, many successful social media managers have honed their skills through hands-on experience alone — look to elder millennials in particular.

And there’s no barrier to beginning. You can start developing your social media skills by building a personal brand on your own social channels, and go from there.

Remember to focus strategy and creativity, as these are both asks in this role.


As workers in the media, it’s easy to be glum about the power of influencers, and how they syphon off ever-declining marketing budgets. But they’re here to stay, and if you can’t beat them, why not join them?

Though the concept of influencer marketing may seem relatively new, it has quickly become a multi-billion-dollar industry, offering lucrative opportunities for those with a strong personal brand, and the ability to connect with their audience.

Successful, trusted influencers possess creativity, authenticity, and the ability to engage their followers.

They collaborate with brands to create sponsored content, attend events, and leverage their online presence to drive both brand awareness, and sales.

Many influencers have built their careers from the ground up, and it’s worth remembering, this is a long-term game.

Developing a niche, consistently creating high-quality content, and building genuine connections all takes time. There are few overnight influencers.

Marketing consulting

Have you ever met a marketing consultant straight out of one of the top universities?

No, that’s because this role requires years of real-world experience, ideally across multiple industries, while keeping a finger on the pulse of what’s new and developing.

Marketing consultants get a lot of work out of organisations that are afraid to make decisions, and are looking for someone to blame if the wrong decision is made. As a result, they can command a high fee.

Day-to-day, consultants work with clients to conduct market research, analyse consumer behaviour, develop marketing plans, and implement new strategies.

Building a strong network, developing niche expertise, and demonstrating measurable results are key to success in this role.

And remember, word of mouth is everything when it comes to attracting new business.

Do you need a degree to work in media and advertising?

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