Impact: Arts and entertainment industries are major employers of Australian creative talent.

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  • Date :  Feb 20, 2013
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Impact and Value

Impact and Value
Employment and participation in the arts

The arts and entertainment industries are major employers of Australian creative talent and it is important to acknowledge that many students may eventually have a career in the arts or related industries. The general assumption of 'the starving artist' is quite inaccurate.

Over the past two decades there have been deep structural changes to the Australian economy so that by 2000 the services sector had grown to contribute more than 76% of Australia’s GDP. Today, creativity is recognised as a key input to the modern economy. By 2006, across the performing arts, music, film, television and radio alone, there were over 53,000 people employed in an estimated 20,000 businesses. Directly, the sector contributes $5.4 billion to the Australian economy through the wages and salaries paid, with total industry outputs in excess of $17 billion. In addition, between 1996 and 2006 there was a surprising 3.1% growth in demand for 'creative services' in other sectors of the economy such as the health, environmental and digital industries. This stands impressively alongside the growth rate of the rest of the economy which was a modest 1.75%.

In order to consider arts-related employment opportunities at the present time, it is helpful to view the arts in a broader context, which in recent years has been described as the creative industries. In these industries creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship are central features. Originally proposed by the UK government in 2001, current thinking places the following creative sectors within the creative industries:

  • advertising
  • architecture
  • arts and antique markets
  • crafts
  • design
  • designer fashion
  • film, video and photography
  • software, computer games and electronic publishing
  • music and the visual and performing arts
  • publishing
  • television
  • radio.

These developments demand recognition and response from teachers of the arts. By understanding how the arts contribute to 21st century skills and the services economy, teachers can play a fundamental role in supporting students with passion, skills and talent to pursue a working life in the arts in exactly the same way they encourage students who imagine themselves in other professions such as nursing, plumbing or teaching.

This project is funded by the Australian Government Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations.