Median wages are very low in select occupations in the arts, culture, and sports (including some artists and designers)
In most jurisdictions, these workers in the arts, culture, and sports earn less than comparable categories of workers in other parts of the economy
Today, I’m continuing my focus on the median wages of workers in the arts and culture, with an analysis of the lowest paid grouping of workers.
This category is really hard to name because it includes many artists (in general, occupations where most people have not completed a bachelor’s degree) as well as a number of other occupation groups, including a few in sports.
More specifically, Statistics Canada’s category for these “occupations in the arts, culture, and sports” includes:
5 of the 10 artist occupation groups, including dancers, actors, comedians, circus performers, photographers, craftspeople, and visual artists
Theatre and fashion designers
Select museum and art gallery occupations (e.g., installers, interpreters, restorers, registrars)
Assistants in film, broadcasting, photography, and the performing arts
Sports athletes, coaches, and referees (with coaches representing nearly 2/3 of these sports occupations)
This occupation category (and five comparable categories in other parts of the economy) are classified by Statistics Canada as “TEER 3” occupations, meaning that they usually require completion of a college or apprenticeship program of less than two years, or more than six months of on-the-job training or courses, or several years of experience in a related occupation with lower educational and experience requirements. (TEER stands for training, education, experience, and responsibility.)
Today’s post follows my recent analyses of the median wages of employed professional workers in the arts and culture (“TEER 1”) and a grouping of some technical workers in the arts and culture (“TEER 2”). All three posts are based on 3-year averages from the Labour Force Survey.
Of the three categories that I’ve analyzed, today’s TEER 3 category is the only one that contains some workers in sports.
I want to emphasize that all of these posts examine readily available groupings of occupations, not mixes that I personally would have chosen. (More on the categories next week.) The Labour Force Survey doesn’t have a large enough sample size to delve into the details for individual occupation groups.
One positive note is that the readily available categories are almost exclusively cultural – something that is relatively rare in broad based datasets (trust me!). Combined, the three categories of cultural workers represent well over half of all workers in the arts, culture, and heritage (roughly 60% of them).
Thanks to reader feedback, next week I will delve into the readily available categories and the underlying occupation groups themselves. Hopefully these companion pieces will enhance everyone’s understanding of the categories and occupation groups.
By my calculations, about 125,000 cultural workers are included in this category, excluding the roughly 25,000 sports workers. This is the smallest of the three readily available cultural categories: there are about 175,000 cultural workers in the professional category and roughly 215,000 in the technical category. However, these counts include both employees and the self-employed, whereas the wage data from the Labour Force Survey only include employees.
Because artists have very high self-employment rates, many of them are therefore excluded from the earnings data, along with other self-employed cultural workers. However, those self-employed artists and cultural workers who have an employed position in their main job are included.