> 2009

Arts organizations improve compensation levels yet still
lag behind other sectors

June 11, 2009

Arts organizations have shown progress in improving compensation levels for their employees but are still facing challenges in providing compensation and benefits in line with the general not-for-profit sector, according to a study released today by the Cultural Human Resources Council (CHRC).

The National Compensation Study for Management and Administration in Not-for-Profit Arts Organizations 2009, an update of a similar study released in 2003, revealed that there have been improvements in compensation levels for a majority of the occupations studied among arts organizations of all sizes.

Trends identified by the study include:

  • Organizations with operating budgets of over $5,000,000 had higher real wage increases than the general marketplace from 2003 to 2008 (about 15% vs. just under 6%).
  • Relative to 2003, the frequency of benefits being offered by arts organizations has increased, especially for smaller organizations. The prevalence of extended health, dental, life and other insurance has almost doubled for these organizations. However, similar to 2003, the scope and frequency of benefits across the arts sector is disproportionately lower than other sectors.
  • Retirement savings plans are also now more prevalent in larger organizations.
  • There has been an increase in organizations offering incentives other than monetary bonuses, including paid time off (an increase to 34% from 19%) or flexible working arrangements (working from home).

“This study suggests that more attention is being paid to the importance of compensation in maintaining and nurturing a strong cohort of cultural managers,” noted Susan Annis, Executive Director of CHRC. “However, the scope and frequency of benefits offered across the entire not-for-profit arts sector continues to be disproportionately lower than what is found in other industry sectors.”

The comprehensive study reports on data for 218 organizations within the not-for-profit arts sector compiled in October and November of 2008. Data was gathered on base salary, employee benefits and perquisites, as well as a number of other human resources issues. Twenty-one benchmark occupations were analyzed. Participant organizations were grouped into five categories according to operating budget: under $100,000; $100,000 to $250,000; $250,000 to $1,000,000; $1,000,000 to $5,000,000; and over $5,000,000.

The study was undertaken with financial support from the Canada Council for the Arts and the Department of Canadian Heritage.

The full compensation survey can be found on CHRC's web site.

The Cultural Human Resources Council (CHRC) is committed to strengthening the cultural labour force, and strives to be at the centre of vision and forward thinking in the area of cultural human resources development. CHRC brings together representatives of arts disciplines and cultural industries in the cultural sector to address the training and career development needs of employers and cultural workers including artists, technical staff and managers. To become a member of CHRC please visit our website.

This project is funded by the Government of Canada's Sector Council Program.

For further information please contact Geneviève Chassé (613-562-1535 x31;