The proportion of employees with a foreign background to state-funded cultural institutions in the Nordic countries has increased over time, but the increase has not been at the same rate as in the general population. The representation of employees with foreign background has thus deteriorated between 2000 and 2015. The results are presented in a new report, Kultur med olika bakgrund Utländsk bakgrund bland anställda vid statligt finansierade kulturinstitutioner i Norden (Culture with different backgrounds), by Kulturanalys Norden at Myndigheten för kulturanalys.
You can read the report in Swedish here
Kultur med olika bakgrund Utländsk bakgrund
bland anställda vid statligt finansierade kulturinstitutioner i Norden
© Kulturanalys Norden 2017
Formgivning: Södra tornet kommunikation
Tryck: Taberg Media Group AB, 2017
Summary in English:
The Nordic Agency for Cultural Policy Analysis (Kulturanalys Norden) conducted a study of how well employees with a foreign background are represented at government-funded cultural institutions in the Nordic region. The study is rooted in common Nordic goal descriptions and programme formulations, the idea that everyone living in the Nordic region should feel culturally involved, and the idea that cultural institutions play an important role in creating a dynamic cultural life with a variety of cultural expression. The study identified the percentage of employees with a foreign background at the cultural institutions in relation to the percentage of persons with a foreign background in the general population and the corresponding percentage in the rest of the job market. We studied the percentage of foreign employees with a foreign background in a management role and in artistic professions in different art areas in Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden between 2000 and 2015.
With the differences in immigration history between the five Nordic countries, the percentage of persons with foreign background in the population, which is defined as being born in a different country or having two parents who were born in a different country, varies between the countries. The percentage with foreign background in the age range 20–64 years was more than three times larger in Sweden (25.3%) than in Finland (7.6%) in 2015. Norway, Denmark and Iceland lie between these two extremes, where the percentage of people with foreign background in age range 20–64 years in the population was between 14 and 18 percent in 2015. Foreign-born people make up the largest proportion of the group with foreign background in all countries, while people with two foreign-born parents make up a smaller proportion. In Sweden and Denmark, foreign-born persons make up 75 percent of all people with a foreign background, while the same group accounts for about 85 percent in Norway and Finland, and 90 percent in Iceland.
Cultural institutions are not a reflection of the population.
The percentage of employees with foreign background in government-funded cultural institutions in the Nordic region has increased over time, but the increase has not been at the same rate as in the general population. In practical terms, this means that the representation of employees with foreign background has worsened between 2000 and 2015. In Sweden and Norway, the proportion of employees with foreign background at government-funded cultural institutions was around 15 percent in 2015, while the figure was about 10 percent in Denmark and 6–7 percent in Finland and Iceland. These levels are below or significantly below the percentage of persons with foreign background in the population within the age rage 20 to 64 years.
Big differences between art areas
Performing arts institutions and orchestras seem to be the two areas where the
representation of employees with foreign background is largest in all countries. In
Denmark and Norway, the proportion of employees with foreign background in
orchestras was over 30 percent in 2015. In Sweden, it was almost 20 percent, and
in Finland and Iceland it was about 11–12 percent. These percentages are above
or far above the levels for the percentage of employees with foreign background
in the entire study population in the respective country. The percentage of
employees with foreign background is significantly lower at museums and within
the area “Other cultural activities”.
Another common characteristic is that the national institutions have a higher representation of employees with foreign background than the regional institutions. Another pattern that can be seen is that museums and the group “Other cultural activities”2 appear to be the areas in which employees with foreign background are represented least.
Low representation of domestic-born persons with two foreign-born parents
One difference between the countries is that the percentage of employees who are
born in the respective country but have two foreign-born parents differs in size. In
Sweden, this group represents a comparatively high proportion of the entire group
of employees with a foreign background. In Denmark and Norway, the group is
significantly smaller, but is represented in all categories of activities. In Finland, it
is only in the performing arts area that there is a small number of employees from
this group. In Iceland, this group was not represented at all in 2015.
Foreign background in management has decreased
In Sweden, about 10 percent of the employed managers had a foreign background in 2015, and the percentage increased during the latter part of the study period. In Norway (5.5%), there was also a slightly upwards trend over the course of the whole period. In contrast, the percentage decreased in Finland (3%) and Denmark (1.5%) during the period. In Iceland, there is only one employee with foreign background in a management position during a single year of the study. In relation to the population of the respective country, representation of employees with foreign background in management positions also reduced in Norway and Sweden, which means that representation in relation to management positions has worsened over time for the entire Nordic region.
Representation in artistic professions varies
There are both differences and similarities between the countries in terms of representation of employees with foreign background in artistic professions. One similarity is that employees with a foreign background are very well represented among employees with an artistic profession in all countries, which is linked to the high percentage of employees with a foreign background in orchestras and performing arts institutions. In all countries, there is also an increase in the percentage of employees with an artistic profession who have a foreign background within the sub-area orchestras, with reservation for the fact that the results for Finland could be an effect of what data was available in different years. The differences between the countries occur in the results for entire populations: a comparatively large increase in the proportion of employees with foreign background within all sub-areas in Norway, where the level is 31 percent with foreign background among artistic professions in 2015; a slightly weaker, yet apparent increase in Sweden (20% 2015); increases in separate areas in Denmark (7% 2015) and Finland (9% 2014). The development in Iceland (15% 2015) is the same for artistic professions as for the entire survey population.
Western Europeans and English-speakers overrepresented among foreign-born
Among foreign-born, persons from Asia, Africa and Latin America are underrepresented in the survey population compared with the regular population, while foreign-born persons from Western European and English-speaking countries like the UK, USA and Australia are overrepresented. However, the differences between country groups have evened out over time. Foreign-born people from the Nordic region was the largest group in all countries except Finland in the beginning of the study period. By the end, the differences between the country groups’ proportion sizes had decreased, and foreign-born persons from the Nordic region was not the largest group in any country. In Denmark, Norway and Sweden, the proportions of the five groups were collectively between 15 and 25 percent. In all three countries, there is also a clear increase in the proportion of employees who were born in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Finland stands out in that there is a dominance of foreign-born employees who were born in a nonNordic country of Europe and a smaller reduction of the group from the Nordic region than in the other countries. In Finland, where the percentage for a nonNordic country of Europe is about 45 percent compared to 10 to 20 percent for all other country groups, there is almost no increase in the proportion of foreignborn employees born in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. The Icelandic population is not suitable for analysis with regard to countries of origin as the number of employees with foreign background is so limited.
Conclusions and recommendations
The low representation of employees with foreign background in the activities we studied when compared with the general population indicates that there may be barriers to integration in government-funded activities in the Nordic region. The countries all describe that cultural institutions play an important role in integration. If the government-funded activities we studied fail to achieve a representative level of persons with foreign background compared to that in the general population, there is reason to investigate whether there are any other obstacles to this, particularly in terms of management positions.
Kulturanalys Norden recommends:
• that the Nordic Ministries of Culture collectively and the different countries individually, based on their general integration strategies, actively work to identify possible obstacles to government-funded cultural institutions in the Nordic countries in the long term being able to provide equal opportunities to everyone to get a job there.
• that the Nordic Council of Ministers decide to develop the statistics presented in this report and regularly update this as a type of indicator for how work with an integrated cultural life in the Nordic region is progressing.
Overall, Kulturanalys Norden believes that more in-depth knowledge is needed about:
• the international job market in the orchestra and performing arts areas
• the development of the entire job market for cultural practitioners, including those who are not publicly funded
• the reasons why it seems to be more difficult for persons with foreign background to gain employment in a management position at cultural institutions
• what different conditions exist for persons with different backgrounds in terms of recruitment to national and regional institutions
• what recruitment looks like at the universities of the arts and other forms of education relevant for work in, for example, the museum sector with regard to foreign background
• what differences exist in cultural habits and cultural practice among children and young people with different backgrounds, what can be done to equalise any differences, and where this equalisation work can take place.