'Cultural Employment' 2017 data highlight importance of culture sector for Asia-Pacific workforce

'Cultural Employment' 2017 data highlight importance of culture sector for Asia-Pacific workforce

The livelihoods of millions of people in Asia-Pacific – some 3-11% of all workers in countries where data are available – depend on the cultural or creative industries. This number includes those who working directly in cultural industries in a cultural or non-cultural capacity as well as those in a cultural occupation in a non-cultural industry.

This was among the key findings from a newly released UNESCO Institute for Statistics database of internationally comparable cultural employment statistics, featuring data for the reference year 2015. The collection includes 195 indicators, which offer a new perspective on the role of cultural employment in national economies and the contribution of culture to economic and social development in 73 countries and territories.

The UIS has been collecting data on cultural employment since 2015. The Survey on Cultural Employment includes indicators that helps measure the critical aspects of cultural employment such as size of the cultural labour force and their working conditions. These indicators will help formulate evidence-based cultural policies and feed into efforts to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 8 (SDG 8), which calls for full and productive employment for all women and men by 2030, decent work and equal pay.

The majority of workers in cultural occupations – those engaging in creative and artistic production as well as heritage collection and preservation – are between the ages of 25 and 64 in Asia-Pacific countries with available data. However, in some countries, such as Pakistan, much younger workers, between 14 and 25 years old, account for more than 30% of the workforce.

Most people in cultural occupations have completed secondary education or post-secondary non-tertiary education in Asia-Pacific countries and tend to have attained a higher level of education than those in non-cultural occupations (see Figure). Moreover, three to 10% of people in cultural occupations in the region report having more than one job.

The UIS Headquarters will publish a fact sheet that further explores the global snapshot of cultural employment and women working in culture.

Figure: Percentage of persons employed in cultural/non-cultural occupations by primary and tertiary education attainment, latest data


Source: Created by UIS-AIMS, UNESCO Bangkok, UNESCO Institute for Statistics Data Centre, accessed in October 2017


UNESCO Bangkok’s Assessment, Information System, Monitoring and Statistics (AIMS) Unit is the Asia-Pacific regional office of the UNESCO Institute for Statistics. For more information about the UNESCO Institute for Statistics, consult the following resources:

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