Creative Workforce - Creation - Overview

One–fifth of all Australians are involved in arts activities as a part of paid or unpaid work

The number of Australians involved in the arts and culture (including those working in a paid or unpaid capacity) increased from 2.2 million in 2001 to 3.4 million in 2007.[1] The ABS 2007 Survey of Working in Culture and Leisure Activities found that 22 percent of the adult population conducted some arts-related activity as a part of paid or unpaid work (excluding hobbies).

Visual arts and craft activities were amongst the most common and fastest growing forms of involvement, although these were largely unpaid.

The most common types of cultural activities which formed part of a person's main job were design (230,700 people), writing (184,300 people), creating artworks with a computer (98,400 people) and designing web sites (83,300 people).

[1] Arts involvement defined by the ABS includes involvement in visual art activities, craft activities, writing, publishing, performing arts, music, radio, television, cinema or video distribution, designing websites, designing computer games and other interactive software, design, teaching, festival organising, art and craft show organising, government arts departments and agencies. Breakdown of specific areas of interest is shown in the figure below.


Museums engage more volunteers than the performing arts

The performing arts engage fewer volunteers than the museum sector, as suggested by the ABS Service Industry surveys undertaken on parts of the cultural sector.

Museums attract the largest number of volunteers overall.

Figure 15 - Number of volunteers for selected arts and culture service industries [1]

Museums and art galleries2007-0823,426
Performing arts2006-076,582
Performing arts venue operation2006-071,935
Libraries and archives2003-046,853

[1] Volunteer numbers for industry metrics are asked of organisations, not individuals. Hence the numbers presented here are not directly comparable to the numbers presented in the Voluntary Work data source (cat no. 4441.0), which are asked of individuals.


The arts currently attract fewer volunteers than sport or welfare/community organisations

Despite 3.4 million Australians involved in arts activities in their work, the arts have a relatively small volunteer base compared with other industries.

According to 2010 ABS data on volunteer work, around 403,000 Australians volunteer with arts/heritage organisations, representing 7 percent of all volunteers.

Arts/heritage organisations attract slightly more volunteers than animal welfare (5 percent), but significantly less than sport (37 percent), religious (22 percent) and welfare/community organisations (22 percent).