State Of Employment Poll & Review May 4 – 10

We’re into our first full month of coronavirus shutdowns and that is enough time to have an impact on our weekly employment status polls, which track both orchestra administrators and musicians.

  • 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.

Weekly Report

This is the first week that provides some quantifiable shifts to employment status. We saw a larger ratio of administrators moving into reduced hours/pay or indicate being laid off.

The ratio of salaried musicians indicating being paid regular salary and benefits has been steadily increasing (which seems unusual) while per-service musicians are seeing small gains in those indicating being paid for some or all cancelled services. This coincides with some retroactive decisions I’ve seen from some groups after receiving SBA/PPP loans.

You can track the per week and cumulative totals at our Orchestra Stakeholder Employment Status During Coronavirus Shutdowns Google Sheet. One recent addition is the introduction of a stacked step chart, which will allow you to simultaneously follow the change of variables per response along with its place inside the combined total value.

This Week’s Poll

If you have not yet submitted a response this week, please take a moment to submit your status below. 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.

This Survey has expired.

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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