From Don Keller, Consultant, Don Keller Arts Marketing
Your salary survey (AP issue 132) quantifies what everyone in the arts instinctively feels about pay differentials with other industries. But Id suggest that much of the low salaries problem starts with organisations chronic lack of self-confidence about what they do. Australians coined the phrase cultural cringe in the 1960s for their countrys supposed lack of creative arts and a tendency to look to the Old World for cultural values. I think the term can be appropriated to cover the regrettably common and self-defeating perception among arts organisations and funding bodies that the jobs we do are inherently less valuable than those in the real world outside, where companies and people do things properly and are rewarded for it accordingly.
Many major arts companies are unable or unwilling to compare what they see as purely arts skills, such as box office or house management, against disciplines with cross-industry qualifications, such as accountancy or human resources. Often the result is big salary disparities within a company, let alone without: the people who are seen as having transferable skills are paid the market rate, while those thought only to be employable in the arts earn substantially less, even when they have similar responsibilities and experience.