9. Occupations

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An occupational classification is a tool for organising all jobs into a clearly defined set of groups according to the tasks and duties undertaken in the job. The United Nations uses the International Standard Classification of Occupations (ISCO) while Statistics Canada uses the National Occupational Classification for Statistics (NOC-S). The basic principle of classification of the NOC-S is the kind of work that is performed.

Occupations are...identified and grouped primarily in terms of the work usually performed, this being determined by the tasks, duties, and responsibilities of the occupation....An occupation is defined as a collection of jobs, sufficiently similar in work performed to be grouped under a common title for classification purposes...This approach to the grouping of occupations ensures a certain homogeneity within groups and permits a distinction between groups. (Statistics Canada 2006, p. 2)

Culture occupations in this framework are those that involve "creative artistic activity and the goods and services produced by it, and the preservation of heritage." This means that a culture occupation is one in which the bulk of the work undertaken in any specific occupation is related to the creative chain for a culture good or service. This definition supports the UNESCO 2009 framework definition of culture occupations. Unlike the 2004 framework, the Canadian Framework for Culture Statistics (CFCS) allocates occupations, as it does products and industries, to the framework domains and the creative chain. Similar to 2004, occupations are grouped according to similarities, but the categories have been expanded beyond Creators, Technical support, and Management support to include Government and Education occupations that support the creative chain for culture products.

The addition of the Education and Training and Governance, Funding and Professional Support, extends beyond what we traditionally consider the culture labour force to include support occupations that provide services to culture creators and consumers, such as government policy analysts and researchers, and educators in schools and postsecondary institutions. Conceptually, these types of occupations are relevant to an understanding of culture, but are not necessarily central to the activities and products of the culture sector. Based upon the type of analysis undertaken about culture, these occupations may be included or excluded, depending upon analytical requirements.

The classification guide to the CFCS will provide explicit examples, with specific occupational codes, for each type of occupation while this conceptual framework provides general examples to help distinguish between the different types of culture occupations. These may or may not be defined in the standard classification for occupations.

Creative occupations involve the creation, production and dissemination of culture goods and services. Examples of creative occupations include librarians and curators, producers, actors and musicians, artists, photographers, architects, designers, artisans, writers, editors, translators, film editors and game developers.

Technical support occupationsprovide technical support for culture goods and services. Examples of technical support occupations include technicians, engineers, assistants, stage managers, site interpreters, photographic processors, camera operators, gaffers, grips, casting agents, etc.

Manufacturing support occupations provide support for the manufacture of culture goods. This category does not exist for all domains, as it is found primarily in the Written and Published Works, Visual and Applied Arts, Audio-visual and Interactive Media, and Sound Recording domains. Occupations include photographic and film processors; desktop publishing operators; printing press and printing machine operators; camera, plate making and other pre-press operators; binding and finishing machine operators.

Management support occupations provide management support for the creation, production or dissemination of culture products. The positions are managers in each of the culture domains included in the framework.

Government occupations related to culture include occupations that are responsible for, or work within, culture programs at all levels of government. Occupations include research analysts, policy analysts, consultants, program delivery officers and managers in government programs related to culture policy, programs or research.

Education occupations related to culture include occupations hired or retained by educational institutions, such as university, college, secondary, or elementary school teachers involved in the teaching or management of educational programs related to culture.

The difficulty in producing a fulsome account of culture occupations is two-fold. The range of occupations involved in the creation of culture products is vast and cuts across many industries and occupational groupings. Some occupations, such as writers, may work in any number of industries, and it is not easy to allocate them to any specific sub-domain. In addition, while the primary occupations of individuals are well captured in labour force surveys, it is more difficult to obtain information about the second or third jobs that some individuals may engage in. For the culture sector, this is an issue of some significance. That is because, for many culture workers, it is the secondary job that provides the culture employment, so that information on the creative occupation of the worker is usually not available.

An important aspect of culture occupation research relates to the fact that workers in culture occupations, such as design, may work in a non-culture industry, such as a branch of manufacturing. Research has shown that culture workers are employed across the Canadian economy and have a large role in the production of a variety of goods and services in the non-culture sector. In 2001, the non-culture sector of the economy employed over half of all culture workers (Schimpf 2008, p. 14-15). Hence, information about the demand for culture workers outside of the culture sector is essential for an understanding of patterns in culture employment.

Figure 71 illustrates a way of looking at the relationship between culture occupations and culture industries and domains. This approach could be used in addition to, rather than as a replacement of, other ways of analysing culture, as described earlier, that look at industries and products. The graphic describes the location of culture workers in the economy. It differentiates between culture and non-culture industries, and culture and non-culture occupations. An example of a non-culture occupation that provides support for a culture industry could be a bookkeeper working for a film production company. An example of a culture occupation in a non-culture industry could be a designer working in the automobile industry.

Figure 7 Culture occupationsFigure 7 Culture occupations

The model proposed by the CFCS, and mirrored by these other approaches, supports a more comprehensive analysis of the larger role of culture occupations in the Canadian economy. Generally, Canadian research on the culture labour force has counted workers in culture occupations in all industries (A+B), but has not distinguished between them in an analysis of culture occupations in non-culture industries. The CFCS model will support the measurement of all employment (both culture and non-culture) in culture industries (B+C), as well as supporting culture labour force analysis that can measure culture occupations in both culture and non-culture industries (A + B).


  1. Figure 7 is an adaptation of two models. One is a model used in the 2009 UNESCO Framework for Cultural Statistics (UNESCO-UIS 2009, p. 32.) the other is the Creative Trident approach developed by the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA) in the United Kingdom.This second approach contains two primary dimensions to define occupations and categorize them by their industry, so that groups either work in the 'cultural sector' or are embedded outside the 'cultural sector'. See Higgs and Cunningham (2008).
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