State Of Employment Poll & Review July 6 – July 12

After collecting three full months of data, it’s clear that orchestra staffers and musicians continue to move toward higher ratios of under-employed and unemployed statuses. 35 percent of these stakeholders are some form of unemployed status or have unpaid cancellations. 50 percent indicated they are working, but at some form of underemployed status, while only 15 percent indicated being fully employed. Let’s take a deeper dive into how those numbers break down between each stakeholder group.

Weekly Report

Administrators continued to experience continued movement in existing directions. Only 22 percent indicate working or being paid at their regular full time or part time status while 37 percent are working at reduced hours and pay. This is the first week where a majority, 40 percent, indicated they have either been furloughed, laid-off, or seen their positions eliminated.

Salaried musicians continued to experience sharp changes. There was an uptick in respondents indicating they were being paid their regular salary and benefits, however, that group only comprised 20 percent. 31 percent indicated being paid a reduced salary and another 31 percent indicated they are no longer being paid a salary but are still receiving health care benefits. The remaining 18 percent are receiving neither.

Not unlike administrators, per-service musicians continued to experience steady response ratios, with the majority of respondents indicating they are not being paid for any cancelled services. Among all stakeholder groups, these individuals are experiencing the brunt of economic pain.

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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