Creative Workforce

The artist population is less culturally diverse than the wider workforce

Throsby and Zednik found that the majority of practicing professional artists were born in Australia (78 percent), a slightly higher proportion than in the general labour force (73 percent). Artists who were born outside of Australia were mainly from the UK and Ireland, continental Europe, New Zealand and Asia.

There are a lower proportion of people of non-English-speaking background among artists (eight percent) than among the wider workforce (16 percent).

Most artists with a non-English-speaking background felt that their background has a more positive than negative effect on their creative practice (60 percent). Only 15 percent thought that their non-English-speaking background had a more negative than positive effect.

However, artists from a non-English speaking background earn a lower median creative income than artists from an English speaking background. Throsby and Zednik suggest that this may be partially due to a greater proportion of non-English speaking background artists working as visual artists and craft practitioners – artforms that incur greater expenses related to their art practice.

Figure 10 – Employment and income of artists from a non-English-speaking background

Artists from non-English-speaking backgroundArtists from English-speaking background
Proportion of artists8%92%
Median creative income$5,300$7,400
Median total income$33,000$35,000