French Foreign and European Affairs Minister's employees work at a crisis management's centre at the French Foreign and European Affairs Ministry in Paris on August 1, 2023. LEHTIKUVA / AFP

International news

The cultural landscape within the European Union (EU) continued to thrive, with the sector providing employment for 7.7 million individuals in 2022, constituting 3.8 percent of the total workforce. Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, unveiled figures that demonstrated a remarkable 4.5 percent rise from the previous year's 7.4 million.

Dynamics across EU member states revealed an upward trajectory in cultural employment in 19 nations, while eight witnessed a decline.

The most striking surges emerged in Cyprus (+21.5 percent), Luxembourg (+14.5 percent), Ireland (+14.0 percent), Sweden (+11.9 percent), and the Netherlands (+10.5 percent). However, Bulgaria (-7.7 percent), Czechia (-7.3 percent), Croatia (-6.3 percent), Estonia (-5.3 percent), and Latvia (-2.5 percent) registered noteworthy declines.

Examining the span from 2019 to 2022, several countries displayed considerable fluctuations in annual rates of cultural employment growth. Cyprus, for instance, transformed from -5.7 percent in 2019-2020 to an impressive +21.5 percent in 2021-2022. Luxembourg underwent a shift from -15.1 percent to +14.5 percent, and Ireland progressed from -3.0 percent to +14.0 percent. On the contrary, Czechia's rate fell from +5.3 percent in 2019-2020 to -7.3 percent in 2021-2022, Croatia dipped from +6.3 percent to -6.3 percent, and Bulgaria declined from +4.1 percent to -7.7 percent.

Interestingly, France, Lithuania, and Portugal emerged as the sole EU countries that recorded an increase in cultural employment during both the 2019-2020 and 2021-2022 periods. Conversely, Estonia faced a decline across both timeframes.

A noteworthy trend unfolded in terms of gender representation. Since 2013, the number of women in the cultural workforce steadily increased across the EU, except for the year 2020. The year 2022 marked a notable milestone, as the cultural sector boasted its smallest-ever gender employment gap, with a mere 1.6 percentage point difference. This equated to 3.93 million men and 3.80 million women (50.8 percent and 49.2 percent) employed in the sector.