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Employment trends
Summary

Number of people working in audiovisual industries, 1993/94–2011

Overview of data sources
Census, 1971–2011
Service Industry Surveys, 1993/94–2006/07
Work in Selected Culture and Leisure Activities Survey, 1997–2007

Overview of data sources

There are three main Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) sources of data on the number of people working in the audiovisual industries: the Census of Population and Housing (Census), Service Industry Surveys (SIS) and Work in Selected Culture and Leisure Activities Survey (WSCLAS), which is a supplement to the monthly Labour Force Survey (LFS).

Each survey differs in scope, is compiled over different reporting periods and uses a variety of data collection methods. The SIS are based on a sample of companies who report the number of workers – full-time, part-time and casual – employed at the end of the financial year. The Census asks individuals to report their main source of income in the week prior to Census night. The WSCLAS also surveys individuals but asks respondents to indicate if they have received any form of payment from involvement with film, video, television and interactive content industries over a 12-month period, see About the data.

It is important to note that the film and video production industry in particular uses a high proportion of casual/temporary employees and freelancers (who may be providing their services as either an individual or as company). The number actually employed in the production industry at the time of any survey will vary according to the level of production activity at the time.


Census, 1971–2011

Next update December 2017

According to the Census of Population and Housing conducted in August 2011, there were 45,846 people employed in the audiovisual sector across the selected industry categories representing a 2 per cent increase over 2006.

The film and video production and post-production services category grew by 20 per cent while the video hire category fell by 31 per cent. The film and video distribution category also fell, losing 25 percentage points since last year. Both the film exhibition and television broadcasting categories increased by 11 per cent, regaining some ground lost between 2001 and 2006.

Television broadcasting continues to be the largest employer, accounting for around 38 per cent of the national audiovisual workforce.

  Number employed Change 06 to 11
1971 1976 1981 1986 1991 1996 2001 2006 2011
All selected audiovisual industries 40,688 48,297 45,088 45,846 2%
Film and video production and post-production services 1,510 1,763 3,096 4,758 5,740 7,760 7,702 8,261 9,908 20% 
Production 7,362 8,700
Post-production 899 1,208
Film and video distribution 807 912 744 703 563 1,709 1,054 871 656 -25%
Film exhibition 4,751 4,659 4,520 3,189 3,367 5,048 10,079 8,900 9,871 11%
Television broadcasting 5,295 8,737 10,702 11,944 9,270 14,552 17,388 15,575 17,298 11%
Free-to-air 12,648 14,058
Subscription 2,927 3,240
Video hire 9,745 10,812 10,975 7,551 -31%
Undefined 1,874 1,262 506 562 11%

Source: Compiled by Screen Australia using unpublished data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), Censuses of Population and Housing, 1971–2011.

Notes:
Figures may not total exactly due to adjustments made by the ABS to avoid the release of confidential data.
1996 was the first year that video hire was available as a separate industry classification.
Breakout data on production and post-production was available for the first time in 2006.
Industry definitions used by the ABS have changed over the years. See Industry and occupation definitions for classifications and definitions.

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Service Industry Surveys, 1993/94–2006/07

Next update to be advised

For 2006/07, the Australian Bureau of Statistics published data from surveys of businesses in film and video production and post-production services, television services and digital game development services.

The figures show a decrease in the number employed in film and video production and post-production, but an increase in employment for TV services and public radio.

The ABS notes that employment figures in the production industry fluctuate depending on what productions are underway at the time of the survey as companies tend to employ more people while actively engaged in production, returning to a smaller ‘core’ staff once it is completed (as at June 2007, 48 per cent of production employees were classed as casual or temporary, compared to 16 per cent of post-production employees). For this reason, labour cost data from the SIS may be a more realistic indicator of general employment trends for the production and post-production industry (it includes the total wages and salaries paid over the financial year); this indicator increased by 32 per cent between 2003 and 2007. Another possible labour indicator from the SIS – one that would take into account freelancers who provided their services as companies rather than as individuals – is payments to other businesses/contractors for production services, listed in expenditure; this increased by 58 per cent between 2003 and 2007.

The digital games development services industry was surveyed for the first time in 2006/07. The ABS reported 45 Australian digital game development businesses employing 1,431 people. The majority were permanent full-time employees (92.6 per cent), with men accounting for 89.2 per cent of the total.

  Number employed Change
03 to 07
June 1994 June 1997 June 2000 June 2003 June 2007
Film and video production and post-production services1 5,998 9,591 15,195 16,360 13,844 -15%
Production 10,873
Post-production 2,971
Film and video distribution2 981 1,341 1,426
Film exhibition3 5,729 7,739 9,282  
Television services (public and private) and public radio4 14,708 14,595 16,484 14,977 16,134 8%
Video hire5 11,034
Digital game development6 1,431

Source: Compiled by Screen Australia from Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS); Film and Video Production and Distribution, 1993/94 (cat. no. 8679.0); Film and Video Production and Distribution, 1996/97 (cat. no. 8679.0); Film and Video Production and Distribution, 1999/00 (cat. no. 8679.0); Radio and Television Services, 1993/94 (cat. no. 8680.0); Radio and Television Services, 1996/97 (cat. no. 8680.0); Television Services, 1999/00 (cat. no. 8559.0); Motion Picture Exhibition, 1993/94 (cat. no. 8654.0); Motion Picture Exhibition, 1996/97 (cat. no. 8654.0); Motion Picture Exhibition, 1999/00 (cat. no. 8654.0); Video Hire Industry, 1999/00 (cat. no. 8562.0); Television, Film and Video Production, 2002/03 (cat. no. 8679.0); Television, Film and Video Production and Post-production Services, 2006/07 (cat. no. 8679.0); Digital Game Development Services Australia, 2006/07 (cat. no. 8515.0); and Australian Broadcasting Commission (ABC) and Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) annual reports.

Notes:
Industry definitions used by the ABS have changed over the years: see Industry and occupation definitions for classifications and definitions.
1. Breakout data on production and post-production was available for the first time in 2006/07.
2. Film and video distribution not surveyed after 1999/00.
3. Film exhibition not surveyed after 1999/00.
4. Separate data for the radio and television activities of public broadcasters is not available for all years.
5. Video hire only surveyed in 1999/00.
6. Digital game development first surveyed in 2006/07.

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Work in Selected Culture and Leisure Activities Survey, 1997–2007

Updates not available

During the 12 months to April 2007, an estimated 3.5 million people aged 15 years and over were involved in some form of paid or unpaid work relating to the activities covered in the Work in Selected Culture and Leisure Activities Survey, which ranged from art and craft to writing and zoos. Of these, 540,600 people participated in what could be defined as audiovisual and interactive media activities (listed in the table below), with the highest proportion (47 per cent) involved in designing websites, followed by film production (19 per cent) and television (14 per cent). Of all categories, people working in television were more likely to be paid; 56 per cent of them received some payment in 2007.

More people were involved in audiovisual and interactive media activities in 2007 than in 2004, with the strongest growth recorded in interactive content creation (up 54 per cent) and film production (up 40 per cent). Paid work was up by 45 per cent in cinema and video distribution, 29 per cent in interactive content creation, and 8 per cent in film production, but down by 10 per cent in television.

Since 2001, the total number of people involved in audiovisual and interactive media activities has increased by 42 per cent, and those in paid work by 19 per cent.

Some paid involvement

Unpaid involvement only

 

 

Graph: Employment areas of activity: Some paid involvement, 1997, 2001, 2004 and 2007. Table following provides the data.
Graph: Employment areas of activity: Unpaid involvements only, 1997, 2001,2004 and 2007. Table following provides the data.
  Some paid involvement1 (‘000) Unpaid involvement only (‘000) Total people with involvement (‘000)
1997 2001 2004 2007 1997 2001 2004 2007 1997 2001 2004 2007
Total 77.7 210.3 212.7 251.1 60.6 171.6 175.9 280.3 138.2 381.9 391.1 540.6
TV 36.4 54.0 48.4 43.4 20.4 29.6 27.5 33.6 56.7 83.6 75.9 77.4
Film production 18.7 20.4 32.1 34.6 20.1 24.0 40.3 64.9 38.8 44.4 72.4 101.0
Cinema and video distribution 22.6 11.4 14.4 20.9 20.1 8.7 13.6 11.7 42.7 20.1 28.1 32.5
Interactive content creation2 124.5 117.8 152.2 109.3 94.5 170.1 233.8 214.7 329.7
Designing websites 112.4 136.2 254.3
Designing computer games and other interactive software 39.8 33.9 75.4

Source: Compiled by Screen Australia from Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), Work in Selected Culture/Leisure Activities (cat. no. 6281.0), 1997, 2001, 2004, 2007.

Notes:
1. Includes all people who received financial or in-kind payment for their involvement, regardless of whether or not they also had some unpaid involvement.
2. In 2001 and 2004 interactive content creation included designing websites and creating programs that contained film, sound and animated components for use on computers, electronic games and touch screens. In 2007 it is the combined total of separate activities: designing websites and designing computer games and other interactive software. Interactive media was not included in the 1997 survey.

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