Putting Orchestra Employment Statuses In Context

The Pew Research Center has been releasing some particularly useful data on the demographics of job loss and pay reductions across the full employment sector. It’s a fascinating juxtaposition to the much smaller cross section of info we’ve been collecting that focuses on orchestra employee stakeholders.

It would be genuinely fascinating to be able to go into the same degree of detail as Pew’s research, but it doesn’t take long to see some parallels between data sets. They tweeted one of the more comprehensive charts on Americans who have lost a job or taken a pay cut due to Covid-19 back in may (h/t @CeciDadisman).

All of this will become increasingly relevant at the end of June as groups that received SBA or PPP loans get to the end of those funds.

Between now and then, we have a lot of ground to cover, so much like the weather in Chicago, if you don’t like what you see, just wait fifteen minutes. Granted, those aren’t ideal conditions for strategic decision making but I hope groups manage to resist the temptation to make long term decisions unless there are no other options available.

And speaking of the weekly orchestra job status survey, if you have not yet submitted a response this week, please take a moment to do so and encourage your friends and colleagues to do the same.

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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