State of Employment Review, Week 2

After tracking two weeks of responses from orchestra managers and musicians about their employment status during coronavirus shutdowns, one thing is clear: per-service musicians are bearing the brunt of economic pain.

Based on responses, none of the individuals identifying as per-service musicians indicated they haven’t lost any income to cancelled services. Instead, the majority, 60 percent, indicated they are not receiving any pay for any cancelled services while 38 percent indicated there were being paid for some cancelled services.

Salaried musicians are faring better where just over half indicated they are still being paid their regular salary and benefits. 30 percent indicated they are being paid a reduced salary but still receive benefits and 14 percent said they are not receiving any salary but are receiving benefits. Three percent indicated they are not receiving salary or benefits.

69 percent of administrators indicated that as of now, they are still working regular hours (full or part time) and paid their regular wage. 18 percent indicated working at reduced hours or pay while 6.7 percent are furloughed, 3.8 percent have been laid off, and two percent have had their positions terminated.

Anecdotally, the salary musician results align with what I’m hearing. But I’ve heard from more managers about being furloughed or laid off than what these numbers indicate. Having said that, those reductions may be planned but not yet implemented.

There are a few musicians at per service orchestras that said they have been paid for all cancelled services or their schedule is spare enough, there haven’t been any services to cancel within the timeframe of the shutdowns.

The more submissions we have, the better the data represents current conditions. To that end, we’ll be collecting results through Sunday for this week’s totals so if you have yet to submit a response, please take a moment to do so.

Likewise, submitting a response each week goes a long way toward tracking major changes in status. So, thank you in advance for taking part and encouraging your friends and colleagues to do the same.

You can track the per week and cumulative totals at our Orchestra Stakeholder Employment Status During Coronavirus Shutdowns Google Sheet. Week 2’s data will be updated throughout the weekend.

This Survey has expired. You can view the results at the State Of Employment Series Archive:

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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