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PiPA launch ‘Balancing Act’ report at Parliamentary reception

The report, which was supported by UK Music, revealed the ‘career penalty’ which parents suffer

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19/10/18: Parents and Carers in Performing Arts (PiPA) launched their ‘Balancing Act’ report at a Parliamentary reception on Thursday hosted by Tracy Brabin MP.

Tracy Brabin MP at the House of Commons launch event on Thursday

The report, which was supported by UK Music, revealed the ‘career penalty’ which parents suffer, with carers, women and freelancers finding it hard to make ends meet and fund childcare.

The findings are stark, as caring hits earning – overall, carers earn £3,000 less a year than those who do not have such responsibilities.

The ‘Balancing Act’ survey was conducted in partnership with Birkbeck, University of London, the research project was funded by the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors, Help Musicians UK, Sadler’s Wells and SOLT/ UK Theatre.

This was the first national benchmarking survey of its kind, as little if any national data exists on how people manage their caring responsibilities whilst working in the performing arts. Using a bespoke survey the research team gathered data from over 2,500 people across dance, music and theatre, including over a thousand respondents with caring responsibilities.

Key Findings:

●             Freelance workers in the arts are vulnerable as they have to rely on their own resources and support structures in order to continue their careers. They report that their low earnings reportedly do not cover unexpected expenses, not surprising at median annual earnings of £16,000, far less than the UK average wage. The team also found that women earn on average 25% less than men, which is on par with other industry sectors.

●             44% of women had to change roles due to childcare responsibilities, compared to 23% of male carers; 50% of female carers and 36% of male carers had to change job location because of childcare issues. Women with caring responsibilities were more likely to work part-time or freelance than women without caring responsibilities. There is no notable difference between the employment structure of men, when comparing men with, and those without, caring responsibilities. Parents and carers report a career and salary sacrifice in order to fulfill caring responsibilities and are unable to access career opportunities as those working in the performing arts rely on other income to pursue their arts careers, and habitually give up performance work once they become parents. This is not out of choice as 43% of female carers would want to increase their working hours in the arts, as would 32% of working fathers, if adequate childcare was available.

●             There is a lack of support and training opportunities for those who’ve had to change their job role. Of those who had changed roles, only 19% agreed that they received adequate training, and only 21% agreed that they received adequate support.

●             79% of female respondents reported that they were the primary carer (i.e. responsible for more than 50% of the caring), but only 16% male respondents would say the same. There is a high desire among freelance respondents for shared parental leave as 74% of men and 72% of women said they’d like to access shared parental leave if it was available.

●             The vast majority (54%) of survey respondents were freelancers which is in line with the industry’s high proportion of freelance workforce. Only 29% of carers responding to the survey were in full-time employment compared to 45% of non-carers.

You can read the full report here.

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