5. Conclusions

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The evidence suggests that culture workers and their knowledge, skills and creativity are of some relevance for producing non-culture goods and services. Indeed, a significant proportion of all culture workers are employed in non-culture contexts, particularly in Manufacturing, Business Services, Educational Services and Retail Trade.Yet, the employment of culture workers also faces certain limitations. The first limitation stems from the fact that most Divisions in the non-culture sector do not employ many culture workers. Moreover, clear and sustained growth in culture worker shares over the 1990s occurred principally in Manufacturing and Business Services; most Divisions in the non-culture sector did not see any significant expansion in culture employment over the decade. This sounds a cautionary note: the immense changes occurring in the Canadian economy during the 1990s do not seem to have unleashed widespread growth in the importance of culture labour inputs for productive processes across the non-culture sector of the economy.

Another limitation is occupational in nature. The majority of culture employment is in visual arts and design occupations, and the bulk of the growth in culture employment during the 1990s occurred in these occupations as well. Hence, the forms of creativity, knowledge and skills found in visual arts and design appear to be particularly relevant for non-culture production. In contrast, increases in employment for the performing arts, the literary arts and heritage occupations were less substantial.

A final limitation is geographical in nature. Firms and other employers seem to rely to a greater extent on culture workers when located in large urban settings. In addition, compared to small cities and rural areas, the mix of industries (major groups) found in large cities appears to be more oriented towards those which employ culture workers in large numbers. Thus, culture employment is particularly rooted in large urban settings.

On balance, it seems that outside of Manufacturing and Business Services, outside of large cities and outside of visual arts and design, the importance of culture-based skills, knowledge and creativity for production is less clear. That said, one potential avenue for future investigation would be to determine whether firms in the non-culture sector outsourced work to the culture sector of the economy to any great extent during the 1990s. If so, then it is possible that the employment of culture workers to produce non-culture goods and services grew more significantly in that decade than is seen in this study.