NZ On Air and Creative NZ jointly commissioned Kantar Public to conduct research into the sustainability of careers in the creative sector, and opportunities to better support creative professionals in their careers. This research was last carried out in late 2018, and the current report represents an updated snapshot of the sector.

The agencies thank participants in the survey for sharing their information with us, to enable better understanding of the challenges they face.

The findings of this latest research are not compared to the 2018/19 report due to differences in the sample composition.

The research looked at people aged 16 plus who earned at least some income from their creative work in the financial year to 31 March 2022. It covered people working in the following sectors : craft and object arts, community arts, literary arts, media production, music and sound, ngā toi Māori, Pacific arts, performing arts, video game development, and visual arts.

Key findings include:

  • Creative professionals' median income is $37,000 compared to a median of $39,900 for self-employed New Zealanders and $61,800 for salary and wage earners.
  • Only 18% feel they are fairly compensated for their time.
  • In terms of the sector NZ On Air funds, video game developers and those involved in media production earn considerably more than the median, while those working in music and sound are among the professions earning considerably less than the median.
  • 56% of creative professionals work exclusively in the sector.
  • 1/3 of creative professionals are struggling to get by.
  • COVID impacted the creative sector to varying degrees.
    • 79% of video game developers say their income is higher now than in February 2020, while 47% of music and sound artists say their income is now lower.
  • Just over half of creative professionals have suffered burnout in the past year.

NZ On Air has considered the research findings in the context of our mandate. The Response document below sets out how we believe we can continue to support creative professionals in the sectors we fund. Because our funding is focused on the content and audience outcomes, we are limited in how we can directly influence the incomes of individuals, but we do acknowledge the role we play in supporting sustainable careers. Please read the below document for more on this.

If you would like to read this report in a more accessible format please head over to the CNZ site for :

  • Audio
  • Braille
  • Easy Read (Word and pdf)
  • Plain English large format (Word and pdf)
  • New Zealand Sign Language video.
Profile of Creative Professionals 2023 Infographic