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Australian artists struggling to earn a living wage

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The average artist’s total income is $54,500 which is 26% below average, making it difficult for professional artists to earn a living.
Artists earn living

A new report has found professional artists, including visual artists, musicians, writers, and dancers, are finding it “harder than ever” to earn a living wage.

Government body Creative Australia and Macquarie University surveyed over 600 artists about their 2021/22 income.

The Artists as Workers report found more women were in creative jobs but men continued to earn more, on average.

Here’s what else it found.

Income

$23,200
The average yearly amount earned by artists from creative work.

$54,500
The average artist’s total income, including earnings from work outside the creative industry. This combined amount is 26% below the average workforce income in Australia, making it difficult for professional artists to earn a living.

Gender

  • 1 in 10 artists work full time in their profession.
  • Women make up two thirds of Australians working in the arts.

$13,800
How much the average female artist earns, compared to the male average of $17,600.

19%
The gender pay gap in the arts. This is greater than the overall workforce gender pay gap of 12%.

Diversity

  • The number of artists with a disability has doubled since 2016.
  • The number of artists who are multilingual and based in regional areas is also increasing.

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