Statistical data confirm the continued rise in the contribution of culture and art to the economy and employment in the EU and worldwide.  

An analysis of labour market data for culture and arts professionals provides an insight into the nature of the employment and livelihood which the sector provides. However, it points to frequent incidence of short-term contracts, part-time jobs and seasonal employment, two or more parallel jobs for people with university diplomas, and this employment situation is frequently qualified as precarious.  

Culture is a specific domain characterised both by its business model, and its underlying nature of activity related to creativity, identity and self-expression. This combination of very material, financial, and transcendental aspects makes for unique employment conditions in this sector, with two divergent requirements: economic results and contribution to self-expression, well-being, social cohesion, and identity.  

Cultural works are often copyrighted, providing a source of revenue for cultural professionals. Revenue structure in the sector is complex due to the international mobility of cultural professionals and artists. For instance, such revenues are subject to taxes and can result in double taxation or taxation of people who do not reach the minimum threshold and thus lose their income unduly.  

The number of cultural professionals and artists is growing steadily, while their employment conditions become more and more unstable. This situation spreads to other sectors and needs to be addressed both in terms of social security and benefits, and revenues and taxation aspects.  

The EU competence in cultural, social and employment policies is limited, consisting of guidance and coordination without any possibility of harmonisation. However, since cultural professionals’ EU mobility is sought after and considered important for the preservation of Europe’s cultural diversity, the above-mentioned problems need to be addressed at EU level.  

Cultural education policy could help strengthen the demand for cultural services, contributing to better employment and training of professionals in the sector.