State Of Employment Poll & Review June 15 – 21

After 10 weeks of tracking data, we’re beginning to see administrators and per-service musicians settle into consistent employment status ratios while salaried musicians continue to shift from one week to the next. Currently, approximately 27 percent of respondents across all stakeholder groups indicated they are still working and/or being paid their regular salary.

Weekly Report

For the third consecutive week, responses from Administrators were steady. There’s a nearly equal division between each group of statuses: a third of respondents are working and being paid at regular employment levels, a third are working reduced hours/pay, and a third have been laid off, furloughed, or seen their position eliminated.

Salaried musicians saw more large shifts in responses with the ratio of those indicating they are receiving reduced salary shot back up for a drop the previous week.  It will be interesting to see if announcements about extended closures at several orchestras where musicians are salaried have much impact on these results. In some cases, those cancellations don’t impact employment status until July, but others may engage sooner.

Much like administrators, per-service musicians experienced steady response ratios over the past three weeks, with the majority of respondents indicating they are not being paid for any cancelled services.

You can track the per week and cumulative totals along with all of the stakeholder charts at the Orchestra Stakeholder Employment Status During Coronavirus Shutdowns Google Sheet.

This Week’s Poll

  • 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.

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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