july 2015
28 p.

In France, 2.2% of the working population work in the cultural professions. The cultural professions cover an exceptionally wide range of jobs (skilled artisans, art teachers, theatrical technicians and artists, architects and publishing executives, etc.) their wage structures and sums also vary considerably from one profession to the next: salaries, self-employed income, as well as income substitution benefits such as unemployment benefit or even, for certain sections of the working population, retirement pensions. Using various editions of the INSEE Tax and Social Incomes Survey, it is possible to get an overview of average annual incomes in this sector as well as income support.

Although the average annual salaries drawn by professionals in the cultural field are generally equivalent to those of the working population as a whole, income support on the other hand accounts for a far greater proportion of their income. Between 2005 and 2012, those working in the cultural professions earned an average total annual wage of €26,000. This is 6% higher than the average for the working population as a whole.

However, their defining sociodemographic features and their employment terms (qualifications, working time, etc) for cultural professionals are very different to those of other workers. Matching like-for-like, cultural professionals actually earn 26% less than those in other jobs.

The make-up of the household, family history, income from other household members (usually a partner), complete their earnings. Earnings from other household members tend to be higher (by 16%) for those working in the cultural sphere than for those working in other sectors (€30,200 per annum). Moreover, households for those working in the cultural sphere have rates of social, financial or land-based income some 13% higher, on average, than the working population as a whole (€6800 per annum).

When applied to all household members, all of these revenues totalled defines their standard of living. Between 2005 and 2012, the average standard of living for cultural professionals was €28,300 per annum, some 11% higher than that for other professions; again however, when comparing like-for-like, it is actually 12% lower than those of workers in other professions.

Within the cultural professions, the income gap between men and women is 19% (in men’s favour), and 29% for the working population as a whole. Taking additional household income into account, particularly that from partners, helps to even out this male-female income gap: the standard of living for working women, whether they work in the cultural professions or not, is very similar to that of men.