In all 10 provinces, the median wages of professionals in the arts and culture are well below other professional occupations
But there are major differences between the provinces
Two weeks ago, I analyzed Canada-wide data on the median and average wages of employed workers in the arts and culture.
Today, I’ll present provincial data on the median wages of employed professional workers in the arts and culture. Comparisons are available for other types of professional workers in each province.
My key finding (spoiled by the title of this post): In all 10 provinces, the median wages of professionals in the arts and culture are well below other professional occupations.
Data source, reliability, and methods
Today’s data source, the Labour Force Survey, doesn’t have a large enough sample size to delve into occupation-by-occupation details. I’m therefore going to focus on readily available summary groupings.
Today’s post examines “professional occupations in the arts and culture”, a grouping that includes:
Some artists, such as producers, directors, conductors, musicians, and writers.
Translators and other communications professionals
Librarians, archivists, conservators, and curators
A caution: In Statistics Canada’s dataset, the term “professional” has little similarity with art-world definitions of professional. From my calculations using the 2016 census, the four artist occupation groups classified as “professional” each have at least 50% of people with a bachelor’s degree or higher. Statistics Canada’s summary grouping of “other occupations” contains the six artist occupations where less than 50% of people have at least a bachelor’s degree.
I’ve decided to examine the two other summary groupings (“technical occupations in the arts and culture” and (other) “occupations in arts, culture, and sports”) in a separate post, likely sometime in May.
After comparing the most recent data (2022) with previous years, I noticed significant year-to-year variations in some provincial wage statistics that are likely due to the relatively low sample sizes, even with yearly data. I decided to smooth out these annual variations by producing a three-year average (i.e., average of 2020 to 2022). This also allows me to provide estimates for all 10 provinces, but it means that the national statistics are different from my post from two weeks ago. Given the lack of precision in the estimates, I’ve decided to round off the median wage calculations to the nearest dollar.
Last week, I provided detailed thoughts about the limitations of Labour Force Survey data. I’ve included a shorter version of that information at the end of today’s post.