Considering an MFA? Warning: Hiring in the Arts Industry Has Plummeted 13.7 Percent in the Past Year

It's the largest hiring decrease across all industries.

Art jobs have been hiring less people in 2019 than in 2018. Image courtesy of Reboot Online.
Art jobs have been hiring less people in 2019 than in 2018. Image courtesy of Reboot Online.

There has been a significant drop in the number of workers hired for jobs in the arts this year. Hiring was down 13.7 percent in the arts industry between the beginning of 2018 and the beginning of 2019 when compared to the previous year, making it the largest decrease across all industries.

There has also been a decrease of 2.9 percent in hiring overall, with the national unemployment rate holding steady at 3.8 percent, according to the new report, which comes from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics and LinkedIn (with data crunched by Reboot Online).

Other fields have also seen declines: design is down 6 percent and education down 5.9 percent. But it seems to be a good time to get jobs in public safety, which has seen hiring rise of 6.4 percent, and software and IT services, which is up 4.6 percent.

Screenshot of job listings on NYFA, the New York Foundation of the Arts.

Screenshot of job listings on the New York Foundation for the Arts.

For those seeking a career in the arts, the report’s findings follow earlier discouraging news that recipients of fine arts degrees have the lowest salaries and the highest unemployment rates out of 162 college majors. The average salary for graduates in the survey was just $40,855, with a hefty 9.1 percent unemployment rate.

On the plus side, arts jobs do offer one significant advantage: they tend to be harder to automate. That means, of course, that jobs in the field are less likely to be taken over by artificial intelligence.

Actuarial science vs miscellaneous fine arts majors. Image courtesy of Bankrate.

Actuarial science vs. miscellaneous fine arts majors. Image courtesy of Bankrate.

Regardless of your field of interest, Reboot Online managing director Shai Aharony offered the same advice in a statement: “If you are looking for employment in a particular industry, make sure your CV reflects your talent in this area. Take a course or gain additional qualifications relevant to the job role which makes you enticing to prospective employers.”


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