State Of Employment Poll April 27 – May 3

Since the onset of coronavirus related shutdowns, orchestras have been laying off and reducing hours for administrators and musicians alike. This weekly poll is designed to help provide a snapshot of stakeholder employment status. Since this weekly poll covers the beginning of a new month, it is the first genuine threshold where some of the impending cutbacks I’ve been hearing about would kick in.

Fortunately, I’m hearing more and more instances of organizations that managed to successfully secure some SBA/PPP funds, which can extend some or all employment and benefits through the end of May or June.

  • For staffers and managers, the questions are straightforward. Music directors (employee or independent contractor status) and staff conductor positions should respond as an administrator.
  • For musicians, questions are specialized for salary and per-service level musicians. While there are certainly musicians that fall between those groups, I’m asking that you use your best judgement to select answers that best represent your current work status.
  • Each weekly poll will allow you to submit one reply. Having said that, it is important for each respondent to return the following week in order to confirm or update your status with a new reply. Doing so will provide an even clearer sense of how things change from week to week.

You can track weekly and cumulative totals at a public Google Sheet. Weekly figures will be updated throughout the week. After submitting your response, your specific stakeholder results will be listed, and you can reload the page again to see the results from stakeholder. You can explore each week’s posts via the dedicated series archive.

At the end of each week, we’ll examine the results in a dedicated review article.

Thank you in advance to everyone for taking the time to respond. I know this is a sensitive topic and can bring feelings of frustration and sadness to the surface but the more responses we have, the more useful the information becomes. As such, I appreciate your time and your willingness to share with friends and colleagues throughout the orchestra field.

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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