Employment in cultural occupations increased by 22% from 2004 to 2011.
An inter-ministerial working group will report in 2013 on social security for self-employed persons working in the cultural and creative industries.
4.2.9 Employment policies for the cultural sector
Estimates of employment figures in the cultural sector vary depending on the definition of "cultural sector" and "cultural occupations". If we limit the definition to artistic occupations (architects, authors, visual artists, designers, photographers, stage artists, musicians, directors and other artistic and entertainment work) according to Statistics Finland the total number in 2008 was only 3 275 professionals. If we take a comprehensive definition of culture, including the media, all workers in the culture industries, advertising, crafts and related industries, libraries, museums and archives, printing, maintenance of amusement parks, etc, and take also into account all employed persons irrespective of their occupation within the cultural fields (whether they work in culture-related occupations or not), their number was as high as 94 400 in 2008, or four percent of the gainfully employed labour force. The gainfully employed in culture-related occupations, irrespective of their sector of employment, was 70 000 in 2008. There are, thus, at least three different measures of the artistic and cultural labour force; and if sectors such as printing, media technologies and advertising and related managerial occupations are subtracted from the calculations, there would be much lower figures in the total number of employed. However, employment has risen much faster in both cultural sectors and cultural occupations in the 2000s than in all of the Finnish labour force. According to Statistics Finland Labour Force Survey, employment in the cultural sector increased by 8% from 2004 to 2010, while in cultural occupations, employment increased by 22% from 2004 to 2011.
The issue of employment became salient after the recession of the early 1990s, although it took some time before any measures were taken in the cultural sector. The Ministry of Education and Culture has drafted its own employment strategy, but the focus of this strategy is to enhance the functioning of the education system as a whole, not specifically education and training of artists and professionals for the cultural sector. A report on the employment effects of the cultural sector was prepared in 1997-1999, and the National Board of Education has more recently calculated the future needs of the labour force in the cultural sectors. There has been criticism that art universities and particularly the cultural and media programmes of the polytechnics (applied universities) are causing unemployment by admitting too many students and producing too many graduates. Calculations of the National Board of Education have supported this criticism and the Ministry has reduced the number of admissions. The working groups on creative and some sector-specific research projects have presented more specific proposals for developing the cultural sector and enhancing their employment effects.
In autumn 2012 the Ministry of Education and Culture set up an interdisciplinary and inter-ministerial working group to develop and improve social security of self-employed persons working in the cultural and creative industries. The mandate was originally given to the cultural policy section of the present government's programme. The aim of the working group is to simplify the employment, social and taxation legislation pertaining self- employed creative workers and to clarify the position of short term grant receivers' within the social security legislation. The group will present their final report in spring 2013.
In 2012 the Ministry also issued a new grant, aimed at hiring unemployed, freelancer or other self-employed artists and cultural workers in projects enhancing welfare in the workplace and in projects renewing businesses' product and service concepts aimed at increasing profitability. The grant can be used to cover expenses from wages only.
Many Finnish cities and regions, particularly the cities of Helsinki, Tampere and Oulu have prepared policy plans for the "creative economy" to promote employment opportunities. They have also worked actively with other European cities to develop creative economies in cities or specific city quarters (creative clusters).
The Ministry of Labour and Economy has a Creative Economy Strategy – "Promotion of Entrepreneurship in the Creative Economy 2015", where one of the goals is to improve the professional skills in the sector.
The latest Finnish National Action Plan for Employment (October 2004), which is otherwise in accordance with the revised European Employment Strategy (EES) adopted by the European Council in 2003, does not pay any attention to cultural labour markets.