In OECD countries with available data, growth in cultural and creative employment had been outpacing that of overall employment in the years leading up to 2020.
When Covid hit, the impact on the culture sector was one of the worst. Its turnover in Europe fell by over 30% compared to 2019.
Relief schemes helped cushion the blow: in Q2 of 2020, 36% of workers in private sector cultural employment were on job retention schemes in selected countries, compared to 19% overall. However, these schemes were not always well-suited to the specificities of the sector.
In general, workers in the culture sector are more likely to hold non-standard jobs – i.e. be self-employed, work part-time, or have temporary contracts – as well as hold multiple jobs.
These jobs are typically more precarious because contracts may be less stable, income may fluctuate, and access to social protection may be impeded.
The culture sector continues to require support in its recovery from the pandemic. To help it back on its feet, governments should view cultural spending as a social investment, not a cost, and create a level playing field for creative professionals to access social protection and business support measures.