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The average cultural salary decreased in 2009, despite a rise in the national average salary.

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Bulgaria/ 4.2 Specific policy issues and recent debates  

4.2.9 Employment policies for the cultural sector

National statistics record the number of employed persons by branches of the economy. The problem is in the nomenclature of the different branches. For example, individuals working in the cultural sector are included in the employment data of both "Culture and Information" and "Leisure and Sports" (average annual number of employed). It is currently not possible to disaggregate the figures below.

Table 5:     Employment in the cultural sector, 1998-2009


Culture and information

Leisure and sports


Total employed

41 286

11 145

No. employed in the private sector

23 566

6 578


Total employed

40 724

10 737

No. employed in the private Sector

23 546

6 452


Total employed

33 785

11 441

No. employed in the private sector

18 105

6 663



Total employed

28 777

No. employed in the private sector

11 218



Total employed

28 980

No. employed in the private sector

11 141


Culture, Sports and leisure

Total employed

27 786


Culture, Sports and leisure

Total employed

31 586


Culture, Sports and leisure

Total employed

32 323

Source:      Statistical Yearbook, National Statistical Institute.
*                 Since the National Statistical Institute has changed its classification for "Culture and Information" and "Leisure and Sports", there is no data available for 2001and following years.
**              For the period 2002 - 2003 the National Statistical Institute (NSI) submitted data only on the "Culture" section.

The main issues regarding employment in the cultural sector are low payments / salaries and a declining number of state-subsidised cultural institutions. This has prompted many gifted young people to emigrate in search of better working conditions abroad.

In 2003, the average monthly salary in the cultural sector, according to the information from the NSI, was 231.91 BGN. The average salary in the "education sector" was 261.06 BGN, and 206.09 BGN in the "social services sector". In 2008 the average monthly salary in the cultural sector was 552 BGN, while the average salary in Bulgaria was 581 BGN. For 2009, the average salary in "culture, sport and entertainment" was 527 BGN, while the average salary in Bulgaria was 608 BGN.

In 2003, the "Employment in support of the Bulgarian Theatre" programme was introduced as a joint project of the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy and the Union of Actors in Bulgaria. This programme provides employment options for persons on longer term contracts which have been made redundant including: actors; theatre-craftsmen; property, stage and lighting workers - all those with a specific experience, knowledge and skills.  These persons can be re-employed by the theatres for a fixed period (one year) and be paid a fixed minimum salary including social insurance. This is a very important programme. During the reform of the Bulgarian theatre sector, the number of the theatres remained the same while the number of jobs / positions were considerably decreased (from 3 400 in 1996 to 1 850 in 2003). These reforms created serious disruptions to the theatres as several positions were merged and qualified staff were let go. In 2004 the Programme provided employment to 240 professionals through a financial contribution of 451 440 BGN. In 2005 the programme included 437 unemployed theatre specialists from all Bulgarian municipalities, with the involvement of both state and municipal theatres.

Chapter published: 20-01-2011

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