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Occupations in the arts, culture, and heritage: classifications, groups, and lists
Turn on the analytical / methods part of your brain, and let's get started
Another post strictly about methods today: specifically, which occupation groups are considered “cultural” (including a full list from my work), which ones aren’t, and why.
This is mostly relevant to data from the census, which is reliable at the occupation group level. In fact, you can think of today’s post as a companion to my census analyses.
To date, I have published five posts analyzing downloaded census data:
In June, I plan on publishing a series of posts analyzing the downloaded census data for all cultural workers, i.e., the 52 arts, culture, and heritage occupation groups described below (not just the 10 artist occupation groups).
Similarly, I have created a section for my posts about artists.
Good news, albeit late: after 5 months of waiting and back-and-forth, I have finally signed an agreement for my census custom data request. It may now take up to 6 weeks for the data to be queried and organized for me. Then I can finally start analyzing the dataset. Progress!
Quick note about Labour Force Survey data
On Tuesday, I posted about the broader categories of occupations available in some datasets, particularly the Labour Force Survey. The broader categories contain most, but certainly not all, cultural occupations.
Two more are forthcoming: one on the differences in median wages on Tuesday May 23, and one on historical changes in median wages on May 30.
Ready to get in the weeds? I got weeds for you.
Why use occupation groups? Which ones?
Standard occupation groups help us make some culture relevant sense of the 2021 census.
In my work, I have selected 52 occupation groups to be counted as “cultural”, out of more than 500 occupation groups that are included in Statistics Canada’s National Occupational Classification (2021).
I selected these 52 occupation groups because they follow, as closely as possible, the 2011 Framework for Culture Statistics. The Framework identified occupations that are entirely or primarily cultural. Partially cultural (but substantially non-cultural) occupation groups were excluded, but noted as partial. The full list of 52 occupation groups is at the end of this post.
If you’re curious about definitions, the 2011 Framework defined culture as “creative, artistic activity and the goods and services produced by it, and the preservation of heritage”.
I say that my selection of 52 occupations follows the Framework “as closely as possible”, because there have been classification changes since 2011 that have required a bit of a judgment call.
I have made one exception to following the Framework as closely as possible. I have included “translators, terminologists, and interpreters”, which is the only writing profession that was excluded from the Framework’s list.
I should note that the 2021 occupational classification is pretty new to me, but much of it is similar to the previous iteration. I’ve worked with the new version over the past several weeks when exploring data from the census and the Labour Force Survey. And here I am, deep in the weeds already.
Sidebar: I’m trying to use “groups” to denote the most detailed occupation level available to us, which Statistics Canada calls “unit groups”. I’m also trying to use the word “category” to denote the larger groupings of multiple occupation groups, such as “professional”, “technical”, etc. I had started to use the word “grouping”, but I now realize that “category” is, well, more distinct from “group”.
Second sidebar: I wasn’t involved in the creation of the Framework, but I did briefly serve on a now-defunct National Advisory Committee for Cultural Statistics. I distinctly remember participating in a standing ovation for the main author of the Framework and its accompanying Classification Guide. Shout-out to Marla! Looking back at my electronic records, that was likely in November of 2011. I also remember that printed copies were passed around at that meeting — a sign of the times.
Groups of occupations
I want to emphasize that we are talking about statistics related to “occupation groups”, not “occupations”.
In no sector of the economy, including culture, does Statistics Canada provide information for individual occupations. Some occupation groups might be more aggregated than others, but all are aggregated to some degree. (Mea culpa: I have sometimes slid into the habit of calling them “occupations” rather than “occupation groups”.)
Most of the 52 occupation groups in the arts, culture, and heritage are found within Statistics Canada’s category 5 – Occupations in art, culture, recreation and sport.
You shouldn’t be surprised to learn that the category 5 occupation groups start with the digit 5. You also shouldn’t be surprised that I’ve counted them: 32 of the 52 occupation groups are found within category 5.
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Arts and culture workers who are not captured in culture-specific occupation groups (from official statistics)
Some occupations are structurally excluded from arts and culture occupations – by which I mean excluded from Statistics Canada’s standard occupation categories related to artists and cultural workers. In other words, these exclusions are not due to the limitations of any particular dataset but are due to the lack of fine grained, culture specific information in standard occupation groups.
Arts and culture workers who are grouped into other, non-culture-specific occupation groups include:
People who teach in elementary, secondary, and post-secondary institutions. The arts and culture occupation groups exclude, for example, visual artists who teach at the post-secondary level (who happen to be some of the highest paid visual artists). Note that people who teach independently or in private studios are included in arts and culture occupations.
Government employees with a cultural portfolio at any level of government. Government workers are not separated based on their portfolios.
Directors and other senior managers in the arts and culture, including those in cultural associations. As is the case for government workers, directors and senior managers are not separated based on the nature of their work or association.
Arts consultants and researchers (like me!). Consultants would mostly be captured under “professional occupations in business management consulting”. My best guess on where arts researchers like me would be captured is “economists and economic policy researchers and analysts”.
In my research for this post, I learned that fundraisers / development professionals are included within an occupation group that is considered cultural. It’s an occupation group that I haven’t investigated in the past: “professional occupations in advertising, marketing, and public relations”.
This very large occupation group includes a broad range of occupations, including many culture specific ones, like artist agents and museum and gallery educators. This occupation group also includes quite a few occupations that are fairly common in cultural organizations but are not culture specific, like development professionals, communications consultants, event marketers, digital marketers, public relations officers, and advertising professionals.
Theoretically, it would be possible to capture the culture specific portion of the workforce using industry groups in conjunction with occupation groups. However, in my experience, the standard industry classification seems to be even less culture specific than the occupational classification.
This is because there appear to be a large number of partially cultural industry groups. As a result, I have always found it a challenge to get a reasonably full picture of cultural workers using industry codes. Partly, this is simply because I haven’t worked with the industry codes as much as the occupation codes. (Occupation codes are the only way of getting at my main focus: artists.)
As I understand it, the folks working on the National Culture Indicators are able to parse out culture specific industries and culture specific products because they have access to incredibly detailed categorizations. That’s why the National Culture Indicators represent one of the best sources of culture-specific information that we have.
I have analyzed these indicators in many posts, most recently in Changes in the direct economic impact of the arts and culture between 2019 and the summer of 2022. Other posts can be seen under the Impacts tab on my homepage.
The timeliness of the National Culture Indicators could be improved, however. The most recent provincial indicators currently relate to 2020. National indicators are more up-to-date: data from the fourth quarter of 2022 came out in April 2023.
Also, they don’t attempt to measure “artists”. I guess that has helped me stay employed for the past 20+ years.
List of 52 occupation groups in the arts, culture, and heritage
Congratulations! You’ve slogged or skipped through my descriptions of the 52 occupation groups, with an aside here or there. Now you’ve arrived at the actual list.
Note that the overarching categories here, e.g., “artist occupation groups”, are my own, not from StatsCan. The occupation group names are taken directly from StatsCan, except for my addition of Oxford commas.
It would take up too much space (in an already long post) to provide examples of occupations included in each of the 52 occupation groups.
If you’re wondering about a specific occupation, there is a search bar available on the first page of Statistics Canada’s 2021 National Occupational Classification. That’s how I found out about “fundraiser”.
Or you can drill down into the classification to see descriptions and examples for each occupation group. Here is a shortcut to category 5 – Occupations in art, culture, recreation and sport, where most of the cultural occupations reside.
Artist occupation groups
Authors and writers (except technical) (code 51111)
Producers, directors, choreographers, and related occupations (51120)
Conductors, composers, and arrangers (51121)
Musicians and singers (51122)
Actors, comedians, and circus performers (53121)
Painters, sculptors, and other visual artists (53122)
Artisans and craftspersons (53124)
Other performers (55109)
Two notes about the artist occupation groups: 1) I haven’t repeated them in the below categories, even though they might fit there. 2) The 52 cultural occupation groups include the 10 artist occupation groups.
Occupation groups typically found in performing arts, sound recording, film & video, and broadcasting
Managers - publishing, motion pictures, broadcasting, and performing arts (50011)
Film and video camera operators (52110)
Broadcast technicians (52112)
Audio and video recording technicians (52113)
Announcers and other broadcasters (52114)
Other technical and coordinating occupations in motion pictures, broadcasting, and the performing arts (52119)
Motion pictures, broadcasting, photography, and performing arts assistants and operators (53111)
Occupation groups typically found in libraries, archives, galleries, museums, and other heritage institutions
Records management technicians (12112)
Library assistants and clerks (14300)
Correspondence, publication, and regulatory clerks (14301)
Library, archive, museum, and art gallery managers (50010)
Conservators and curators (51101)
Library and public archive technicians (52100)
Registrars, restorers, interpreters, and other occupations related to museum and art galleries (53100)
Occupation groups typically found in architecture and design
Landscape architects (21201)
Urban and land use planners (21202)
Web designers (21233)
Landscape and horticulture technicians and specialists (22114)
Architectural technologists and technicians (22210)
Industrial designers (22211)
Drafting technologists and technicians (22212)
Graphic arts technicians (52111)
Graphic designers and illustrators (52120)
Interior designers and interior decorators (52121)
Theatre, fashion, exhibit, and other creative designers (53123)
Patternmakers - textile, leather, and fur products (53125)
Occupation groups typically found in publishing and printing
Desktop publishing operators and related occupations (14112)
Technical writers (51112)
Translators, terminologists, and interpreters (51114)
Supervisors, printing and related occupations (72022)
Printing press operators (73401)
Plateless printing equipment operators (94150)
Camera, platemaking, and other prepress occupations (94151)
Binding and finishing machine operators (94152)
Photographic and film processors (94153)
Also some of: Managers - publishing, motion pictures, broadcasting, and performing arts (50011)
Occupation groups that are not included elsewhere
Professional occupations in advertising, marketing, and public relations (11202)
Conservation and fishery officers (22113)
After looking closely at the above 52 cultural occupation groups, I decided that 5 of the occupation groups would fit nicely into a new category: “arts leadership positions”. The 5 arts leadership occupation groups, which are included in the count of cultural workers, are:
Producers, directors, choreographers, and related occupations
Managers in publishing, motion pictures, broadcasting, and the performing arts
Library, archive, museum, and art gallery managers
Conductors, composers, and arrangers
Conservators and curators
Note that 2 of these occupations (producers etc. and conductors etc.) are also included as artist occupations.
This category certainly does not capture all senior workers in the sector. Many are excluded from culture specific counts due to the lack of fine-grained information in standard occupation categories. Examples of potential arts leader occupations that are grouped into other, non-culture-specific occupation groups are:
Directors and other senior managers in the arts and culture, including arts associations. Association directors and senior managers are not separated based on the nature of their work or association.
Government employees with a cultural portfolio at any level of government. Government workers are not separated based on their portfolios.
Arts consultants and researchers.