The Indeed Oscars Report 2016: How Hollywood Works

It takes all kinds of talented people to make the movie business work

It’s Oscar time, and all over the world movie fans are waiting to see which stars will go home with a golden statue. Here at Indeed, we love showbiz glamor too—but as the world’s number one job site we also know that Hollywood isn’t just a dream factory.

After all, when Brad Pitt’s computer crashes, he doesn’t ask George Clooney to fix it. When Morgan Freeman needs a cab, Jennifer Lawrence won’t be driving it. Hollywood needs all kinds of talent to keep it running.

With that in mind, we looked to our job search data to learn more about how Hollywood works. Here’s what we found.

Behind-the-scenes roles are prominent in job search

First, we looked at the roles that Hollywood job seekers are looking for. To get the most up-to-date information, we analyzed worldwide Indeed job search traffic to jobs in Hollywood and West Hollywood for the last quarter of 2015.

Most popular search terms in Hollywood

Here interest in behind-the-scenes support roles is especially strong. For instance, “writing assistant” is number one (“writer” appears further down, at 14) while “personal assistant” (4) and “production assistant” (7) make strong showings. At number two, we see an employer—Universal—which in 2015 became the first studio to release three films that grossed more than $1 billion in a single year (Jurassic WorldMinionsFurious 7). Clearly, jobseekers took note of this success.

Service sector jobs are also strong. The narrative of working as bartenders or servers while waiting for a “big break” is a common one. A newer spin on this theme is “bottle service”— referring to the practice of reserving a booth, drinks and service at a nightclub or lounge. Tips can be astronomical, so it’s little wonder searches have increased threefold since the same time last year.

But employers want tech, sales and healthcare professionals

When we look at actual vacancies in different job categories, the results are very different from what people are searching for.

Top job postings in Hollywood

The most in-demand job category in Hollywood is sales manager, followed by software quality engineer and then sales reps. In fact, there is a widespread need for mid-level managerial roles in several sectors, while demand for nurses is high—as it is throughout the US.

While these aren’t the jobs that many Hollywood hopefuls might have in mind, the good news for aspiring actors is that many tech and healthcare jobs increasingly have the flexibility traditionally associated with service jobs—and they pay better.

Hollywood job search comes from all over the US—and London

Where do people searching for jobs in Hollywood come from? Throughout its history, Tinseltown has been a magnet for talent from all over the world, and that remains true today.

Locations of people looking to move to Hollywood for work

New York (1), Chicago (3), Atlanta (4) and Houston (6) have huge populations so it is no surprise to see them in the top ten. On the other hand, Las Vegas barely cracks 600,000 residents, but it appears at number two. This makes sense, given the range of entertainment jobs that make up employment there. Similarly, Austin has a population of under a million but it hosts a thriving film scene, which may explain its appearance at number nine.

One foreign city makes the top 10, as it turns out London (8) is also home to many Hollywood dreamers.

Do the Oscars have an effect on job search?

Like every industry, the largest companies in the movie business leverage their employer brands to attract top talent. We were curious: Among the “Bix Six” studio conglomerates, which of their major film units is most attractive to job seekers? We took a look at the job search traffic to Universal, Disney, Warner Bros, Paramount, 20th Century Fox and Columbia to see if the Oscars awards benefit a studio’s employer brand. 

Do the Oscars have an effect on a studio's employer brand?

The results? All six major studios saw some growth (between 10% and 40%). Columbia, which is owned by Sony, was the overall winner with nearly 40% growth in searches, even though it won no Oscars. By contrast, Fox saw only a minor bounce—even though the studio’s film Birdman swept the board for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay and Best Cinematography. This trend suggests that it’s not how many Oscars a studio wins but rather the event itself that prompts job seekers to consider a studio career.

Studios release movies throughout the year, so we also looked at all the job search traffic to each of the six studios in 2015. Which studio won the “Oscars of Job Search”?

Employer Brand Film Studios

Here, Universal is the champion, reflecting its lucrative 2015. Surprisingly Disney, which owns the Marvel franchise and ended the year with the record breaking Star Wars: The Force Awakens ranks third below Warner Bros, which may be enjoying some popularity because of the studio’s critically-acclaimed Mad Max: Fury Road.

Interestingly, The Force Awakens alone grossed more than Warner Bros’ top five releases added together. But because that film was released at the end of the year, we may have to wait to see its effect on job search over the course of 2016.