Creative Workforce

Employment in arts-related occupations has almost doubled since 1996

According to Cunningham and Higgs’ analysis of Census data, there were 23,600 people employed [1] in artist occupations (such as authors and painters) and 69,270 people employed in arts-related occupations (such as music teachers and jewellery designers) as their main job in 2011.

A further 31,000 people were employed in other occupations within the arts industries (such as stage managers and video editors).

In total, they estimated that there were almost 124,000 people employed overall in the arts as their main job, including both full time and part time workers.

An estimated 14,820 new arts jobs were created from 2006 to 2011. On average, arts employment has been growing by around 2.6 percent annually since 1996, which is faster than the growth in employment overall (1.9 percent). Much of this growth is in arts-related occupations, which saw 8,190 new jobs between 2006 and 2011 (representing 55 per cent of all new arts jobs).


[1] The term ‘employed’ is used inclusively and synonymously with ‘work’, as many in the arts are self employed or employers, rather than employees. It also includes all those employed whether on a full time or part time basis.

[2] The 1996 and 2001 census were categorized using ANZSIC93 for industry of employment and ASCO v.2 for occupation. The 2006 and 2011 census, were coded using the classification ANZSIC93 and ASCO v.2. Whilst most classification effects on time series employment are minor a more significant discrepancy arises because of the addition of two industry classifications that are relevant to the arts (Arts Education and Other Specialised Design)