Arts and culture labour force

Volume: 3 Issue: 4

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There are many different ways of analyzing employment in the arts and culture. A number of recent reports have used different methods and different groupings to examine various aspects of work in arts and culture in Canada. In Volume 3, Number 4 of the Arts Research Monitor, we highlight the key findings of these reports.
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  • Focusing on nine arts occupations, A Statistical Profile of Artists in Canada finds a number of significant characteristics about artists, including high levels of education, a high proportion of self-employment, a predominance of women, very low earnings, and strong growth in the number of artists between 1971 and 2001.
  • This report examines the arts, culture and heritage workforce in Canada, based on 45 occupations from the 2001 census.
  • Culture sector employment, 1991-2003

    The first of these two reports on cultural sector work, The culture sector labour force: Has the 1990s boom turned to bust?, received significant media coverage for its speculation that, based largely on a very small decrease in cultural employment in 2002, the growth of the cultural sector labour force in the 1990s might have halted after the year 2000. However, the second report, Culture sector employment, 1991-2003, which updates the data to 2003, appears to show that the 2002 decrease was an aberration in an otherwise strong growth pattern.

  • The report notes that "three issues stand out as the key elements of a national, cross-sectoral human resources development strategy": management, career self-employment, and career-long learning. The report outlines challenges, objectives and options for action in addressing these issues.