Survey highlights pay penalty of carers in performing arts

Performing Arts


Carers in the performing arts earn on average £3,000 less a year than those who do not have such responsibilities, according to a report by Parents in the Performing Arts.

PIPA’s ‘Balancing Act’ survey is the first national benchmarking survey of its kind, given little data exists on how people in the performing arts manage their caring responsibilities. The survey is based on responses from over 2,500 people across dance, music and theatre, including over a thousand respondents with caring responsibilities.

It found women earn on average 25% less than men. Some 44% of women had to change roles due to childcare responsibilities, compared to 23% of male carers; 50% of female carers and 36% of male carers had to change job location because of childcare issues.

Women with caring responsibilities were more likely to work part time or freelance than women without caring responsibilities.

The survey found freelance workers in the arts have to rely on their own resources and support structures and that their lower than average earnings do not cover unexpected expenses.

Only 29% of carers responding to the survey were in full-time employment compared to 45% of non-carers.

Parents and carers habitually give up performance work once they become parents. However, 43% of female carers would want to increase their working hours in the arts, as would 32% of working fathers if adequate childcare was available.

Other findings include:

  • There is a lack of support and training opportunities for those who had had to change their job role. Of those who had changed roles, only 19% agreed that they received adequate training, and only 21% agreed that they received adequate support.
  • 79% of female respondents reported that they were the primary carer.
  • Freelance respondents were keen to access shared parental leave – 74% of men and 72% of women said they’d like to access shared parental leave if it was available.

The survey was conducted in partnership with Birkbeck, University of London and funded by the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors, Help Musicians UK, Sadler’s Wells and SOLT/ UK Theatre.

You can read the full report here.

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