The impact of COVID-19 on cultural employment seems to have been overcome, according to data for the second quarter of 2022 published by the Active Population Survey (EPA). The results indicate that in the first half of the year cultural employment stood at 724,600 people. The data is close to the 726,600 employees in the second quarter of 2019, when culture set the record for employment generated. At the moment it is 0.3% away from equaling the historical figure.
The European Parliament demands a “European statute of the artist” that sets minimum working conditions for cultural workers
The result represents a year-on-year increase of 5.6% compared to 2021, and a rise of 9.1% to 2002. The graph that portrays the last three years of the sector reveals a constant recovery since it bottomed out, in the third quarter of 2020, when it fell to 647,400 jobs. Throughout the pandemic, culture has lost 79,200 workers. Never before has it happened so dramatically in such a short time. With the new data published, culture recovers 77,200 jobs from the worst moment of the series.
Women have emerged stronger from the health crisis in the cultural sector by adding 300,000 jobs in the second quarter of 2022. It is an unprecedented figure for them: an increase of 8.6% compared to 2021, 5.3% compared to 2020 and 5.4% in 2019. This historical data does not hide the inequality that culture employment still maintains: in the same quarter they added 424,700 people, 58.6% of the total.
Another of the significant aspects revealed by the EPA of the cultural sector is the growth of younger employment. The greatest growth compared to 2019 is that experienced by the age group from 16 to 24 years old, with an increase of 42.1% compared to the figures for 2019, 44.7% compared to 2020 and 46.9% % of those in 2021. Although they barely represent 5.5% of cultural workers, the youngest find more work in the sector. The greatest job loss compared to 2021 is suffered by workers over 55 years of age. Curiously, the most adult section was the only one that created employment in the midst of the pandemic. The largest age group continues to be 35 to 44 years old, with 194,200 employees. Then, the one from 45 to 55 years old, with 187,500 workers.
Cultural employment is characterized by high academic training (higher education reaches 71.9%, and in the national group this is 45.5%), however it has traditionally been a precarious employment. In the new data, a decrease in temporary employment is discovered: we now know that 111,900 workers have a temporary contract compared to 126,300 in 2019. In addition, a number of permanent contracts of 365,100 employees is reached. It is even higher than in 2019, when 362,200 were signed, and well above the 350,800 in 2020. In other words, now almost eight out of ten salaried workers sign an indefinite contract.
During the health crisis, temporary contracts plummeted to almost 25%, while workers with permanent contracts were 3% who lost their jobs. In spite of everything, it is important not to forget that 67.6% of cultural employment is salaried. It is a figure that has grown, but it is much lower than that of the total for Spain, which stands at almost 85%. In fact, non-salaried employment in culture (32.4%) is double that in the rest of Spain (15.7%).
The Statute of the Artist is necessary precisely to guarantee the rights of this large number of cultural workers, doomed to the intermittence of occasional commissions. Despite the steps taken in the last year, fiscal policy continues without recognizing them as exceptional jobs or adapting to the intermittency of their income. They do not claim to declare less before the Treasury, but that the Treasury adapts to the lack of continuity in their income.