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Finland/ 4.2 Specific policy issues and recent debates  

4.2.9 Employment policies for the cultural sector

Estimates of employment figures in the cultural sector vary depending on the definition, the statistical data source (employment data, labour force surveys) and the industrial and occupational classifications used. The latest (2015/2014) Finnish figures are from Statistics Finland's Labour Force Survey and thus presented here. In its Finnish Labour Force Survey Statistics Finland uses the terms cultural activities and cultural and artistic occupations. Cultural activities include the categories of the Standard Industrial Classification (TOL) 2008 and the classification used for occupations is the Classification of Occupations 2010.

According to Statistic Finland, employment in cultural industries grew by around three per cent in 2015 compared to the previous year. However, employment in these industries has dropped significantly from 2012 to 2015. The average number of those employed in cultural industries was 122 000 in 2012 and nearly 113 600 in 2015 (Table 7).

Table 7:    Persons employed in cultural industries according to the Statistics Finland Labour Force Survey, 2012-2015

TOL 2008







17 167

17 238

14 109

12 702

14 045


10 431

10 414

9 482

8 856

11 314

Libraries and archives and museums activities and preservation of historical sites and buildings

13 983

13 199

9 947

11 625

10 839

Creative, arts and entertainment activities

19 245

18 659

20 810

18 133

16 205

Other industries

42 151

40 058

37 207

58 994

61 168


121 581

117 867

111 912

110 310

113 571

Source:  Statistics Finland,  

In 2014, around 128 500 persons were working in cultural occupations as their main job. According to the Statistics Finland, the number of those working in cultural occupations has remained nearly unchanged in this decade.

The number of people working in advertising and marketing occupations has grown strongly compared to the beginning of this decade. However, the change is not fully reliable, due to changes in classifications and methodology. The number of architects and designers has fallen by around 30% and in 2014, it was 14 800, on average. Employment among public relations professionals, archivists and librarians, and curators has also fallen by around 27 per cent. In contrast, the employment of those working as artists and authors has risen by around nine per cent (Table 8).

The employment of those employed in cultural occupations has also improved by over two per cent between 2014 and 2015. In 2015, more than 131 000 persons were employed in cultural occupations. The number of employed persons in cultural occupations has developed more evenly than that of persons employed in cultural industries and the growth between 2011 and 2015 amounted to around three per cent.

Table 8:    Employment in cultural occupations, 2011-2014 according to the Statistics Finland Labour Force Survey






Advertising, marketing

13 456

17 786

21 137

22 201

Architects, product and clothing designers, community and traffic planners

20 868

18 306

14 747

14 800

Public relations professionals, archivists, curators, librarians and related information professionals

16 862

16 396

16 672

12 259


12 666

12 244

11 023

11 092

Artists and authors

17 237

16 707

18 130

18 839

Other cultural occupations

46 286

46 052

44 440

49 306


127 374

127 473

126 149

128 498

Source:  Statistics Finland, Cultural Employment in Finland 2014

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 Social Affairs and Health 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 was 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 presented their final report in autumn 2013 and ended up disagreeing on several issues. However, the need to have a clearer concept of self-employed persons was felt to be important. Also other clarifications regarding for example pension plans, copyright provisions in relation to social benefits, eligibility for grants and self-employed persons for part time child home care allowance from the state were also stressed.

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.

Chapter published: 25-04-2017

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