25 percent fewer working in culture

12.10.2021 - 12:18
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 Mynd: © Florian Trykowski - www.floriantrykowski.de
There has been a major reduction in total payments and the number of people working in the creative industries in Iceland since 2008. There are around 25 percent fewer people working in the cultural sector now than 13 years ago and total wage payments in the sector are down 40 percent in the same period, according to a report from BHM, the union of university-educated people.

“The creative industries started to diverge significantly from others after 2013 and the recession grew significantly after 2017,” a statement from the union says. The union also states that the COVID-19 pandemic affected the cultural sector worse than most others.

“In the past four years, the development has been very fast. Total wage payments in the media have reduced by 45 percent since 2017, the recession was 41 percent in the film industry, and around 26 percent in the music sector. The recession in many sectors started a while before the pandemic but the economic shock following it adds salt to the wound” 

The report says a majority of artists have university degrees. “Despite this, the working wage of artists was well below the wage of full-time labourers in 2020. Artists’ wages have lagged far behind general wage developments in recent years. In the past ten years, the wage index has risen 96 percent while the working wages of artists have increased 49 percent.” 

The statement adds that there are additional reasons for the development in certain specific sectors, such as publishing, where there were 3.4 books published per thousand people in 2019, compared to 5.2 in 2011. “It is important for the public sector to plot a course for greater support for culture in Iceland. Otherwise, there is a risk that the cultural sector will suffer permanent damage from the pandemic,” the BHM statement says. 

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