Talk about suffering for your art.

I completely ripped this off from Hill Strategies Research. I ripped it off in its entirety and without permission because it’s super important (and it was distributed and is available publicly on their website). What I want you to take note of is the fact that one in thirty people in Canada is a cultural worker. That’s a lot of people. That’s a lot of people generating a lot of money for our economy. A lot of people who aren’t being paid well, and who work harder and longer than most any other profession. I need you to understand how important it is to value arts and culture. Too many people think nothing about arts and culture, or, worse yet, they dismiss it as ‘not important’. They are wrong. And my suggestion for how to understand this is to live without arts and culture in your life: no music, no television, no movies, no graphic user interface. No tee shirt slogans, no architectural differences, no sports, no dance, no pornography (you know who you are). No newspaper, no internet (which was designed for military and scientific purposes, but which was taken over, more or less, by college students and people with big ideas, big dreams, and strong artistic/cultural motivations), no written history, no stories, no books, no cool pirate calendars that your co-worker brought you from England. No games, no rhymes, no rhythm, no cakes. Think about that for a while.

A Statistical Profile of Artists in Canada Based on the 2006 Census, the 26th report in the Statistical Insights on the Arts series from Hill Strategies Research, shows that there are 140,000 artists in Canada who spent more time at their art than at any other occupation in May 2006. Artists include actors, choreographers, craftspeople, composers, conductors, dancers, directors, musicians, producers, singers and visual artists.

The number of artists is slightly larger than the number of Canadians directly employed in the automotive industry (135,000).

The report also notes that the broader cultural sector has about 609,000 workers and comprises 3.3% of the overall labour force in Canada. One in every 30 people in Canada has a cultural occupation.This is about double the level of employment in the forestry sector in Canada (300,000) and more than double the level of employment in Canadian banks (257,000).

The report highlights 10 key facts about artists in Canada:

1. The average earnings of artists are very low.

  • The average earnings of artists are $22,700, compared with an average of $36,300 for all Canadian workers.
  • The gap between artists’ average earnings and overall labour force earnings is 37%.
  • To bridge the earnings gap and bring the average earnings of artists up to the same level as the overall labour force would require an additional $1.9 billion in earnings for artists.
  • The average earnings of artists are only 9% higher than Statistics Canada’s low-income cutoff for a single person living in a community of 500,000 people or more ($20,800).
  • 62% of artists earn less than $20,000, compared with 41% of the overall labour force.
  • Six of the nine arts occupations have average earnings that are less than Statistics Canada’s low-income cutoff for a single person living in a community of 500,000 people or more ($20,800).

2. A typical artist in Canada earns less than half the typical earnings of all Canadian workers.

Note: The median is a measure of the earnings of a “typical” worker in various occupations. Half of individuals have earnings that are less than the median value, while the other half has earnings greater than the median.

  • For artists, median earnings are only $12,900.
  • A typical artist in Canada earns less than half the typical earnings of all Canadian workers (median earnings of $26,900).
  • A typical artist, on their own, lives in a situation of extreme low income: the median earnings of artists are 38% below the low-income cutoff for larger urban areas ($20,800).
  • In six arts occupations, median earnings are less than or about equal to $10,000. This means that a typical actor, artisan, dancer, musician or singer, other performer or visual artist earns only about $10,000 or less.

3. Artists’ earnings decreased, even before the current recession.

  • Between 1990 and 2005, the average earnings of artists decreased by 11% (after adjusting for inflation).
  • In the overall labour force, average earnings grew by 9% during the same timeframe (after adjusting for inflation).
  • The 11% decrease in the average earnings of artists between 1990 and 2005 is due to a 14% decrease between 2000 and 2005, after adjusting for inflation. Even without an inflation adjustment, artists’ average earnings decreased by 3% between 2000 and 2005.
  • All nine arts occupations saw substantial decreases in average earnings between 2000 and 2005, which contributed to a decrease for all nine occupations over the longer timeframe (1990 to 2005).
  • The earnings gap between artists and the overall labour force increased from 23% in 1990 to 37% in 2005.

4. There are more female than male artists, yet women artists earn much less than men.

  • The 74,000 female artists represent 53% of artists. In the overall labour force, 48% of workers are women.
  • On average, female artists earn $19,200, 28% less than the average earnings of male artists ($26,700).

5. Aboriginal and visible minority artists have particularly low earnings.

  • Aboriginal artists have particularly low average earnings ($15,900), a 39% gap when compared with all Aboriginal workers in the Canadian labou
    r force. The average earnings of Aboriginal artists are 30% lower than the average for all artists.
  • With average earnings of $18,800, visible minority artists earn 38% less than the average earnings of all visible minority workers in Canada.

6. Economic returns to higher education are much lower for artists than for other workers.

  • University-educated artists earn 38% more than artists with a high school education. In the overall labour force, those with a university education earn more than double the average earnings of those with a high school education.
  • The percentage of artists with a bachelor’s degree of higher (39%) is nearly double the rate in the overall labour force (21%).
  • Artists with university credentials at or above the bachelor’s level earn $26,800, which is 53% less than the average earnings of workers with the same education in the overall labour force ($57,500). In fact, the average earnings of university-educated artists ($26,800) are less than the average earnings of overall labour force workers with a high school diploma ($28,000).

7. Many artists are self-employed.

  • At 42%, the percentage of artists who are self-employed is six times the self-employment rate in the overall labour force (7%).
  • The average earnings of self-employed artists ($15,200) are 51% less than the average earnings of all self-employed workers in Canada ($31,000).

8. There are relatively few opportunities for full-time work in the arts.

  • Nearly twice as many artists as other workers (42% vs. 22%) indicated that they worked part-time in 2005.
  • Artists are employed for fewer weeks per year than other workers. In 2005, 68% of artists worked most of the year (40 to 52 weeks) compared with 77% of the overall labour force.

9. There has been substantial growth in the number of artists since 1971, but the rate of growth is decreasing.

  • The number of artists in Canada grew much more quickly than the overall labour force between 1971 and 2006. There were three-and-a-half times as many artists in 2006 as in 1971. This is a much higher increase than the doubling of the overall labour force.
  • The rate of growth in the number of artists has decreased during every period since 1971: 85% in the 1970s, 40% in the 1980s, 29% in the 1990s, and 7% in the shorter period of 2001 to 2006.
  • The number of artists grew by much more than the overall labour force between 1971 and 2001 but less than the overall labour force between 2001 and 2006.

10. Artists, as a group, are becoming more diverse, older and better educated.

  • Artists from visible minority groups more than doubled in number between 1991 and 2006 (123% growth).
  • Artists 45 or older more than doubled in number between 1991 and 2006 (121% growth).
  • There were 90% more artists with a university certificate, diploma or degree in 2006 than in 1991.
  • There were 61% more artists with a college certificate or diploma in 2006 than in 1991.
  • In comparison, there were 38% more artists and 22% more workers in the overall labour force in 2006 than in 1991.

Methodological notes

Individuals are classified in the occupation in which they worked the most hours between May 7 and 13, 2006 (the census reference week).

The earnings statistics include an individual’s wages and salaries as well as net self-employment income. Other income sources, such as income from government programs, pensions or investments, are excluded from the earnings statistics. The earnings statistics include amounts received from all employment and self-employment positions in 2005, not just the position at which the respondent worked the most hours during the census reference week.

For more information

The full report is available free of charge on the Hill Strategies Research website (http://www.hillstrategies.com) and the websites of the funding organizations.

cenobyte
cenobyte is a writer, editor, blogger, and super genius from Saskatchewan, Canada.

15 Comments

  1. “There are more female than male artists, yet women artists earn much less than men.”I wonder if this is partially supply and demand. It makes sense, after all, for a male ballerina (is there a different name for them?) to be paid more because you need male parts but there are few choices. On the other hand, of course it makes no sense at all for a female songwriter to be paid less than her male counterpart.I’ve always distrusted these statistics, though. Do they take account of the fact that women often make life choices that will lead to them being paid less? I believe most places give half pay during maternity leave, for example. Also, I hear that women aren’t as good as men at asking for raises. That’s not really anybody’s fault. So perhaps women artists, on average, aren’t as good at making the sales. That doesn’t mean that there’s systematic prejudice going on. (Not to say that there might not be, but I don’t trust it).

  2. Well if you look at Art production, while the end result is the goal, making lots of money from it generally isn’t. The message is the most important thing. Yet to make money at it you either have to luck out and hit the sweet spot, or go almost entirely commercial.I think in terms of say a painter. While they want to make beautiful paintings the consideration isn’t ‘How much will this make.’Yet when viewed outside of the artist’s point of view, it is entirely commodified. To make money you MUST produce something that will be commercially viable. While I would love to say ‘All artists get paid’ someone (well many someone’s) would balk at this because of a variety of factors that all come down to what they produce.Not only that but how are you going to define an artist? Merely production? See it confuses me to try to find a way for individuals who are dedicated artists to make a decent living, while satisfying the criteria we tend to lay over everything in the matter of its worth. And yeah I know I’m sounding like a Marxist, but I’m not. :)

  3. describe what you mean by ‘entirely commodified’? I’m not sure I agree with that view of arts/culture…in the way I understand it.

  4. I’m one of those crazy people that have always felt that artists should be paid a steady income yet it is one of the few ‘non-capitalistic’ industries that is netirely comodified.

  5. You all heard it! I’m more valued than Cenobyte! :)Actually I was attempting to put together a less angry response than yours to Parm’s statement of ‘choices affecting salary.’ I agree with what you say. And that was kind of my point. I think artists should be paid to create, yet that overlay… ah I said this already. As an aside. As a man who chose his children as more important than his job, I have faced similar (Not as bad) discrimination as women in the workplace because of that choice. I think part of it is the misconception that having children is a choice that precludes a successful career.

  6. ooooooh, there’s a 44 pg. report! *rubs hands together gleefully*I’ll get back to you guys when I feel I actually understand what we’re talking about.

  7. Parmeisan: Your argument may hold up for things like ballet, where there are usually more female dancers auditioning for roles than male dancers. However, that is one teeny tiny segment of ‘arts and culture’, and I think that it is particularly endemic to all *kinds* of careers that women get paid less than men for doing the same work. Why SHOULD that male ballet dancer make more than the female dancers? He, and his dance partners, should be paid commesurately for the work they do. So, what, a male dancer should be paid more because he does more lifts? Because there are fewer male dancers to audition? By that reasoning, it’s okay to pay female engineers more than male engineers simply because there are fewer of them. That’s *ridiculous*. Supply and demand exists; I know it exists. But I think this plays in to what Coyote was talking about – the commodification of art and culture. I also take umbrage with the statement that women deserve to be paid less because they make different life choices? What the hell? Why should this only apply to women? Men have children too. Men take paternity leave (a lot of places are calling it ‘parental leave’ now). And what about families who adopt? Why is it okay to pay women less?“Most places” do not pay you half of anything for parental leave. “Most places” allow you take parental leave, but essentially you’re on EI, and the *government* pays you X amount of your regular wage for up to 52 weeks. AND that has to be split between mum and dad (or grandma or grandfather or whoever is the primary caregiver). I’m sorry, but it burns my butt to hear things like “it’s okay that women get paid less for the work they do because they choose to”. I do not choose to be paid 23% less than my male counterparts in similar positions. My “life choice” right now is to have a career that *allows me to have a family*. But you know what? Even if I had no children, I would *still* be getting paid 23% less than males in the same position. You know why? Because I’m a woman, and my skills are not valued as much as Coyote’s, or Smarty Pants’, or Aelius’. This is not just obvious in arts and culture. It’s a systematic and endemic problem that women are facing in *every sector* to some degree. So please forgive me for going off on this, but women do not deserve to be paid less because they menstruate (“and have to take more time off work”), because they want careers *and* families (men do too, you know!), or because they are more emotionally or psychologically ill-suited to the ‘Man’s world’ of career living. The problem is that we live in a gender-segregated society and very few people are willing to admit it. That’s why people say things like “there’s no need for feminism anymore”. And they’re wrong.And…AND!!! Artists should be paid **to do their art**. Not to sell it. That is the job of the **producers** of art and culture products. If you’re a project manager, it is not your job to sell the software product once it’s finished, usually. If you’re the software designer, it’s usually not your job to market the work you’ve done. If you’re the one doing the math for the system that’s being designed, why on earth should you be the one meeting with the client and trying to convince him/her to buy it? Artists should not be producers. They should be creators. There’s a huge difference. Publishers promote (and sell) the work of writers. Galleries promote the work of artists (and sell). Theatres promote (and sell) the work of actors. Record labels/producers promote (and sell) the work of musicians. The job of the artist is to **create**. THAT is what they should be paid for, regardless of their gender.

  8. I’m just gonna throw this out there, because you mentioned pornography in the original post.Female Porn star = $1000/dayMale Porn star = $100/daySpeaking from a live theatre perspective, it is true that males make more money. This is mainly due to the fact that most older plays (especially shakespearian) have mainly male roles. And while this is changing in the more modern plays, it is still the older productions that are done in majority. As for wage though, in my industry they are all paid the same regardless of sex, males just get more work.

  9. Annoying non-sequitur department: The fact that there are more female artists than male artists has no connection with the fact that female artists get paid less. These facts are presented in such a way as to suggest a causality and a resultant injustice, and that’s just illogical. Female artists shouldn’t make less than male artists (and it literature, a royalty is a gender-free royalty) but the reason they shouldn’t make less is not because there are more of them! It’s one of the reasons why I never get totally whipped-up by any of Kelly Hill’s stuff — there’s always an element of “singing to the choir” about it. It was great to see, however, that this particular release of Hill Research did strike the media though — it’s in Quill & Quire, it’s on the CBC website. Wow. We hope it will do at least a little to shut up those neanderthals at the canadian taxpayers starchamber, and all the other whiners about government grants to the arts. These poverty-ridden stats INCLUDE grant support at all levels. Without grants, artists would be making less than ragpickers. We also hope all this infrastructure talk results in a boost to the arts infrastructure as well. We hope that someone is working on exactly how that would look…

  10. “That discussion did not end well.”Well now, that depends on your point of view. If by not well you mean you slapped them in the face, then some other person might say it ended very well…. ;)

  11. I think there is very little that a male artist can do that warrants his being paid more than a female artist. Dancer or not.<>I’m saying that a woman who takes maternity leave is gone for those months. A woman who doesn’t is not. The first will make less money overall. A man would do the same, but statistically there are fewer of them. I only wonder if that’s accounted for in the stats, or if they are looking at the money they get paid each day while they *are* there.<>And I’m saying that a parent deserves full parental benefits regardless of gender. I think that the stats that account for women being paid less do not look at things like ‘maternity leave’, because when you’re a self-employed artist, there **is no** maternity leave. Or Paternity leave. Or parental leave at all. There are very, very, VERY few artists who actually get paid a living to do their art. So I think the idea that women in the arts get paid less than men in the arts because they don’t work as hard or they don’t work as many hours is ridiculous.<>A woman should get paid for the work she does. *IF* she works less, then of course she will get paid less. The same goes for men. How could you possibly argue that somebody working half time should get the same daily wage as somebody who works full time? I only argue that more women work part time than men.<>The underlying reason why women work part time more than men is because women are still expected to do so. <>We hear this all the time, but is it REALLY true? Statistically, women are more likely to work less and less likely to choose a high-paying profession.<>In fact, many studies have been done that prove that women in Executive positions and teaching professions and engineering professions and legal professions still get paid less than men in the same professions. <>Do you really think I am saying that? Really?<>No. You aren’t. Others have. In just as many words. At the tail end of my rant about this topic, that is the thing that always comes out. I have actually had discussions with men who have said, and I am quoting directly: “If I had two equally qualified people applying for a job, and one was a woman and one was a man, I would hire the man because women need to take time off because they have babies, and because they need time off when they menstruate.”That discussion did not end well.

  12. “By that reasoning, it’s okay to pay female engineers more than male engineers simply because there are fewer of them.”Only if the female can do something that the male cannot. In this case, the male dancer can be a male dancer, which is apparently important for the aesthetics of the thing.“I also take umbrage with the statement that women deserve to be paid less because they make different life choices?”Nonono, I don’t mean that. I’m saying that a woman who takes maternity leave is gone for those months. A woman who doesn’t is not. The first will make less money overall. A man would do the same, but statistically there are fewer of them. I only wonder if that’s accounted for in the stats, or if they are looking at the money they get paid each day while they *are* there.“I’m sorry, but it burns my butt to hear things like “it’s okay that women get paid less for the work they do because they choose to”.”A woman should get paid for the work she does. *IF* she works less, then of course she will get paid less. The same goes for men. How could you possibly argue that somebody working half time should get the same daily wage as somebody who works full time? I only argue that more women work part time than men.“You know why? Because I’m a woman, and my skills are not valued as much as Coyote’s, or Smarty Pants’, or Aelius’.”We hear this all the time, but is it REALLY true? Statistically, women are more likely to work less and less likely to choose a high-paying profession. I am not confident that all these studies really take these factors into account when reporting the numbers. If we can accept that engineers make more than teachers (the acceptance of which isn’t a given, but nevertheless) and more men are engineers and more women teachers, then of course the average man makes more than the average woman. I only want to know that that’s been duly noted.“So please forgive me for going off on this, but women do not deserve to be paid less because they menstruate…”Do you really think I am saying that? Really?

  13. Ok, first, dismissing a Reason piece because it’s written by “right-wingers” is ridiculous, Ceno. Ridiculous. At least be ACCURATE and say “libertarian” if you’re going to be dismissive.What Parmesian and I were referring to is essentially the information at http://blogs.usatoday.com/oped/2008/06/our-view-on-pay.html.Yes, this is American-centric information. And my Reason piece doesn’t link to the AAUW study it speaks of, nor to June O’Niell’s study. But June O’Niell and Claudia Goldin are no “right-wing think tank” or whatever the fuck. I would like more Canadian information, but apparently we don’t do as many good studies or have as many intelligent economists.I think this piece should show that I am not relying on some sort of shit writer: http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc1/ComparableWorth.htmlAlso. This does not need to directly address the arts to be relevant in a discussion of it. Unless there is some unique property that artists have that all other wage earners do not, they should be subject to the same wage forces as all other earners.I read the Hill Strategies Research study in full, and I left with a LOT of unanswered questions. What were the average hours worked per week for each of the 9 categories? Was there a difference in the weekly earnings for men and women if you control for time worked? How many hours did those minority artists work? It just doesn’t seem like a “much better” source of information than those I have seen.Oh. And the wage information does NOT take grants into consideration. Page 3 of 44, 2nd bullet.Again. I don’t care what the left or right say about this. I care about the truth. And it seems like the truth is that women take more time off to take care of children than men do, and are less aggressive about going for high-paying careers. That’s just a cultural fact, and it seems that this is becoming less and less the case.I do NOT value your skills less because you are a woman, Ceno. And I do NOT believe there is any sort of systematic push towards making women’s wages lower. Show me a complete study that indicates that, and I’ll read it.I’m not really clear how it SHOULD be. How SHOULD it be, Ceno?

  14. Iron Troll:First, that is an American study.Second, it doesn’t address professions in the arts at all.Third, it is an article written by a right-wing reporter based on evidence from right-wing think tanks. Most right-wingers don’t believe in gender-based pay inequity, and if they do, they don’t see much wrong with it and say things like “women choose to have families rather than careers”, which is not only untrue, but it also completely disregards men who decide the same things, AND it completely disregards how it SHOULD be, and that is that men and women equally work less, earn less, and raise families. Fourth, as for June O’Neill of Baruch College, I don’t know any of the information from her study, since she didn’t name it, the sociologists conducting it, nor did she offer any kind of reference for the study at all. Futhermore, she didn’t give any information about what social class was studied, what time frame they were studied in, or what their socioeconomic status was. Fifth, this article didn’t mention any of the studies done on the *other* side of the spectrum in which the pay divide DOES exist, regardless of whether families have children. Personal experience, anecdotal evidence, and much better studies discussed by much better writers who actually are willing to acknowledge that there is a problem are what I choose to base my opinions on. The fact that there is *any* gender-based pay inequity at all means there is a problem. Period.

i make squee noises when you tell me stuff.

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