PiPA’s Balancing Act Survey Research Released

9 Apr 2019

Patricia Okenwa. Photo: Alex Rumford

New research by Parents and Carers in Performing Arts (PiPA) in partnership with Birkbeck, University of London found that the industry is at risk of losing talent and diversity unless it improves employment of parents and carers. With funding from Arts Council England, PiPA were able to expand their work with dance, music, theatre and opera organisations across the UK.

Over 2,500 UK workers from the performing arts, on-stage, backstage, administrative and executive, employed and self-employed, including over 1,000 parents and carers, took the Balancing Act Survey.

Research showed:

  • Parents and carers experience a pay penalty
  • Women, self-employed and those without social capital are particularly at risk
  • Seven out of ten performing artists with family responsibilities regularly turn down work
  • Four out of ten performing arts workers who left their careers did so due to parenting responsibilities
  • Three quarters of carers and parents had to turn down work due to caring responsibilities.
  • Parents and carers earn £3,000 less a year than those who do not have family responsibilities.
  • Of all parents and carers surveyed, almost six out of ten work freelance, compared to 48% of those without caring responsibilities.
  •  Median earnings for parents and carers working freelance are lowest, at £16,000 pa.

Royal Ballet’s Federico Bonelli supports PiPA’s call for change and comments:

“We get to be dancers because we have a passion. Too often we have to stop because we want to have a family. The Balancing Act report shows how difficult it is for carers to have fulfilling careers while having caring responsibilities and points out how these barriers might be addressed.

As artists we strive to be relevant to our world, we want our art to be seen by as diverse audiences as possible. To achieve this it is essential that the people creating the work have wide-ranging lived experiences and are as diverse as possible. A sector that better supports parents and carers will result in better, more relevant art that can be enjoyed by many.”

To read the full report visit