4147.4.55.001 - Culture and Recreation News, Jan 2005  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 25/01/2005   
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PAID AND UNPAID WORK IN ARTS AND CULTURE

Ira Gershwin wrote "Nice work if you can get it" way back in 1937 and it seems that a growing number of Australians in 2004 agree - when it comes to working in a range of culture and leisure activities.

According to the latest ABS survey on the subject, the Work in Selected Culture and Leisure Activities Survey, almost 2.9 million people aged 15 and over were involved in paid or unpaid work related to selected culture or leisure activities in the year ended April 2004, up from 2.5 million people in 2001 when the survey was last conducted.

In 2004, activities undertaken by relatively large numbers of people included visual arts (789,900 people), writing (556,500), craft activities (542,700), and performing arts (423,900).

Of people working in the selected culture or leisure activities in 2004, one-third (957,500) received some financial or in-kind payment for that work, and the majority (64%) of those people reported that the activities were part of their main job. Thus, only 21% of the 2.9 million people involved in the selected culture or leisure activities had undertaken it for payment as part of their main job.

The ABS's main measures of work, derived from the Labour Force Survey and the Census of Population and Housing, focus on a person's main job in the week before the survey. As work in arts or cultural fields is often intermittent, and undertaken for low or no pay, the Work in Selected Culture and Leisure Activities Survey is an important source of information about people working in these fields, but who are not 'counted' in those other surveys.

Further information is available in Work in Selected Culture and Leisure Activities, Australia, April 2004 (cat. no. 6281.0).