Changing face of artists' employment

A new report from A-N, the Artists’ Information Company explores the effect of the economic recession on the livelihoods of artists in terms of access to employment and career opportunities and raises concerns about how artists' practice is likely to fare in this period of arts austerity.

Key findings:

  • The impact of the recession on artists' jobs and opportunities on offer was greatest in 2008, when the total value of openly-offered work to artists dropped by 60% on the previous year.
  • In 2009, there was some recovery, with the overall value down only 15% on 2007 (pre-recession) figures.
  • However in 2010, the value of work and opportunities on offer to visual artists was 33% down on 2009 figures and only 12% better than the 2008 low point.
  • Jobs in Higher and Further Education including lecturing, research and technical salaried posts amounted to 34% of all paid work on offer in 2010 (23% in 2009). With cuts in HE and particularly in art and design forecast, this is a worrying trend that is likely to severely affect the livelihoods of artists.
  • The key change in 2010 was in commissions that provided only 18% of the value of all work, with an average budget of £21,440, this in comparison with 29% and £62,823 respectively in 2009. The total value of commissions in 2010 was only 16% of that in 2007 (pre-recession year).
  • The value of paid opportunities and jobs offered through arts organisations including galleries and studios was 13% less than 2009.
  • 10% of the value of all work in 2010 came through local authorities. The cuts local authorities are now facing are likely to have a dramatic impact on artists.
  • In 2010, 56% of all work openly offered to visual and applied artists came from the public sector and higher or further education, all areas set to shrink considerably from 2011.
Supported using public funding by the Arts Council England