Australian artists struggling to earn a living wage

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.


The average yearly amount earned by artists from creative work.

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.


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

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

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


  • 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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