Chapter 6: Creative Labour Markets and Signalling
with John Banks 6.1 CREATIVE INDUSTRIES’ LABOUR MARKETS, UNCERTAINTY AND SIGNALLING Labour markets in all industries have their idiosyncratic features and structural characteristics and the creative industries are certainly no exception. We have already met one such feature in Chapter 4, namely the tendency toward extremes of wealth in winner-take-all markets (De Vany 2004, Potts 2006). Other features highlighted by Caves (2000) include the ‘motley crew’ aspect of ad hoc teams, the significance of the apprenticeship system, and the role of labour organizations such as guilds and unions. Furthermore, work in artistic labour markets (as a subset of creative industries’ labour markets) has consistently highlighted the lower-thanaverage returns to creative endeavour in proportion to human capital (Throsby and Hollister 2003, Menger 1999, 2006). Indeed, the peculiarities and challenges of arts, cultural and creative labour markets and careers is a common motif of the economic and sociological analysis of arts, culture and creative industries.1 Menger (1999) is worth quoting at length on this: Artistic labor markets are puzzling ones. Employment as well as unemployment are increasing simultaneously. Uncertainty acts as a substantive condition of innovation and self-achievement, but also as a lure. Learning by doing plays such a decisive role that in many artworlds initial training is an imperfect filtering device. The attractiveness of artistic occupations is high but has to be balanced against the risk of failure and of an unsuccessful professionalization. Earnings distributions are extremely skewed. Risk has to be managed, mainly through flexibility and . . . multiple-job holding at the...
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