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Greece/ 4.2 Specific policy issues and recent debates  

4.2.9 Employment policies for the cultural sector

There is a lack of systematic quantitative data and primary research on cultural employment in Greece; the following note is, therefore, by necessity cursory and impressionistic.

The public sector remains the chief employer of cultural workers in Greece, primarily through the central and decentralised services of the Ministry of Culture. It is currently estimated that the Ministry employs about 7 000 permanent members of staff (of which 4 500 are security staff for archaeological sites and museums), and 3 500 workers under indefinite work contracts (these numbers exclude staff of organisations under the auspices of the Ministry). Culture and arts organisations attached to the local government employ an unknown additional number of people.

There is lack of recent official information on employment in the arts. Eurostat reports 52 600 people (ca. 1.2% of the working population) in cultural employment in Greece in 2009, of whom 5 200 are in publishing, 5 400 in film, video, TV, music recording and publishing, 11 700 in programming and broadcasting, 9 100 in creative arts (including visual and performing) arts and entertainment, and 10 200 in libraries, archives, museums and other cultural activities; in terms of occupation, Eurostat also reports that in 2009 there were 22 900 writers and creative artists in Greece. About one third of Greek cultural workers are freelance. Cultural employment is also stated as part-time or temporary for many cultural workers.

It has to be understood that job creation in the cultural sector is necessarily in line with tight fiscal policies, aiming to reduce, rather than increase, employment by the state and local government. In response to the recent financial crisis, there is a shift to promoting entrepreneurship at an early stage of a person's life with specific programmes at schools and universities. Moreover, seminars and workshops are organised to support the creation of enterprises with a gradually special focus in the creative sector.

While the culture-related units of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism are traditionally staffed by archaeology graduates (who, in Greece, receive a purely humanistic – rather than social science – education), there has been a shift in the skills required for effective cultural heritage and cultural development management which is being acknowledged in recent policy initiatives. The Ministry has defined several skills to be taught through professional training courses such as: familiarity with the legal and regulatory framework for the protection of cultural heritage, project management, and computer literacy skills related to cultural heritage documentation and information management. In practice, museum studies are recognised as important. Communications studies, cultural resource management, museum studies, arts administration, and arts policy degrees are increasingly acknowledged. In addition, some departments and organisations, especially in the not-for-profit sector, employ museum education and museum documentation specialists. It is assumed that several hundred contract jobs of documentation and information officers were created in ca. 200 memory institutions (museums, archives, libraries) in the context of large-scale cultural digitisation projects, co-funded by Greece and the European Commission, from 2004 to 2008; more contract positions may be opened as part of the cultural digitisation programme currently under way, in the context of the 2007-2013 Digital Convergence operational programme of the Ministry of the Economy. Many organisations in the performing and visual arts depend on external consultants and private companies as collaborators for ongoing projects.

A comprehensive or broader perspective is required to re-examine the issue of human resources, employment and education, in the context of the strategic challenges faced by the cultural sector as a whole.

Chapter published: 14-08-2015

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