South African Cultural Observatory

Jobs report reveals potential for creative economy

BY 23.03.18

OVER one million, or 6,72% of all South African jobs, are housed in the broader ‘Cultural Economy’.

This is according to an employment report released by cultural think-tank, the South African Cultural Observatory (SACO) this month.

New statistical data compiled by Prof Jen Snowball, SACO chief research strategist and economics lecturer at Rhodes University and Serge Hadisi, an independent economist affiliated to Rhodes University, has highlighted the potential of the creative and cultural industries (CCIs) to drive employment, job transformation and economic growth in the country.

The study, which used the 2015 Labour Market Dynamics Survey data, mapped employment in South Africa’s CCIs revealed that the ‘Cultural Economy’, which includes cultural and non-cultural practitioners working within South Africa’s creative economy, made up just over 6.7% of all employment in the country.

The findings were based on people working in sectors traditionally classed as cultural or creative such as fine art, performing art, film, museum, libraries, music, and craft as well as the more commercial sectors such as designers, architects, advertising and computer programming.

Cultural employment can be measured using the Cultural Trident: People with a cultural profession working in a cultural sector; People having a cultural job, but working outside the cultural sector; and

People who have a non-cultural job, but and working in the cultural sector (such as a secretary in a film production company). Taking all three groups together gives employment in the Cultural Economy.

Key findings

  • In 2015, cultural occupations made up 2.52% of all employment in SA
  • The cultural sector also provided employment in non-cultural ‘support’ occupations for 4.2% of all those who had a job in 2015.
  • Altogether, the ‘Cultural Economy’ accounts for an estimated 6.72% of all employment in South Africa.

These percentages, Prof Snowball insists, highlight the significant contribution that the CCIs have made and continue to make to employment in the country.

Creative Industry Transformation

“A deeper analysis of CCI occupations showed that, while 80% of cultural workers are black Africans, Coloured, and Indian or Asian, White workers are still over-represented in some areas of the sector. This is especially the case in specific domains in which tertiary education is required,” Hadisi said.

The study highlighted that a lack of access to tertiary education could potentially hinder faster transformation in the CCI’s.

“More than half of all cultural occupations are held by men (57%). Young women (under 35) are particularly underrepresented in the cultural sector: 34% of cultural workers are young women, compared to 42% of male cultural workers,” Snowball said.

The report suggests the cause might be the difficulties that younger women – who are more likely to have family obligations – have in working in cultural jobs where working hours may be long and erratic.   

“International studies reveal that cultural and creative occupations potentially offer more precarious employment than non-cultural jobs” Hadisi said.

According to the report forty-three percent (43%) of cultural jobs are informal and more people work on a freelance or contract basis compared to non-cultural jobs – 32.5% compared to 8.3% respectively.

Off the back of the SACO data released, the Minister of Arts and Culture, Nathi Mthethwa highlighted the potential of the CCI’s to generate creative capital and create jobs in his keynote address at the South African Cultural Observatory’s (SACO) 2018 international conference held in Nelson Mandela Bay earlier this month.

“CCIs around the globe are rapidly attracting attention as drivers of economic growth, innovation, and job creation. The World Economic Forum’s 2017 report on The Future of Jobs and Skills in Africa listed the creative industries as one of ‘trending’ professions, which had an average growth rate of 7% between 2011 and 2016.

“Similar growth in South Africa at this level would support the National Development Plan’s aim to create 11 million new jobs by 2030,” Mthethwa said.

Key terms

Please find below a summary of the key terms used in the ‘Employment in the Cultural and Creative Industries in South Africa’ distinguishing the differences between key terms used in the report.

Creative and cultural industries (CCIs): includes not only the traditionally recognised (or core) “cultural” occupations and industries, but also the more commercial, for-profit sectors shown in the outer rings of the Concentric Rings Model of the CCIs (Figure 1). Likewise, the UNESCO (2009) Framework points out that cultural workers may be found in cultural industries, but also in other industries doing cultural work.

Cultural Trident: A useful model for demonstrating this effect is the “cultural trident” which distinguishes between:

  • Workers with a cultural profession working in a cultural sector (e.g. an artist in an opera);
  • Workers having a cultural profession but working outside the cultural sector (e.g. a designer in the car industry);
  • Workers having a non-cultural profession and working in the cultural sector (e.g. a secretary in a film production company) (Higgs and Cunningham, 2008:15).

Creative Economy:  includes those employed in creative occupations inside and outside the creative sector, as well as those in non-cultural jobs in creative sector firms.

Creative Industries: which is a sub-set of creative economy, focusing on cultural and non-cultural workers, but only those employed in CCIs.

Creative Occupations: which is a sub-set of the creative economy that focuses on cultural work both in, and outside of, cultural firms.

 

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