Recruitment tensions in the cultural sector

How did the cultural labor market evolve after the health crisis?

Seen in the prism of our recruitment firm, there are many more job offers than before incarceration. So we were able to publish 7,319 advertisements on ProfilCulture from March 2021 to February 2022: this is more than double compared to the same period (March 2020 to February 2021). This development is almost the same for all sectors, offerings in heritage and cultural policy thus increased by 113%, by 103% in the performing arts and even by 147% in publishing, the press and communications. .

How is this development explained?

First, there is a post-Covid catch-up effect, but also an acceleration of pre-Covid trends. Cultural work is going well. According to figures from the Ministry of Culture, there were 703,000 jobs in the culture sector in 2018 (last known figure), with increases of 2% to 5% between 2016 and 2018. During the 2020 lockdown, certainly there are fewer job offers while also decreasing traffic to the site of candidates or those who follow. But there were always offers during the health crisis and the whole thing got over very quickly, even though the situation was overcome before Covid.

Is the cultural job market fluid?

Certainly, in any case this is not what we see today. Because of our activity and the many exchanges we have, cultural structures, including the main structures of Paris, find it increasingly difficult to find candidates who match their recruitment criteria. This tension is particularly seen for positions that require five to fifteen years of professional experience, less so for beginners and seniors. It applies to all sectors and functions, both the “support” function (administration, communications, accounting, etc.) and the “business” function (curator, manager, etc.)

How is this explained?

First, the general health and social context is likely to prevent people from presenting themselves in the future with the clarity of mind they want, which does not encourage mobility. Therefore candidates in this part of the experience are at a time in their lives where it is often more difficult to achieve mobility, mainly for family reasons. They don’t take risks. We heard a lot during the Covid period about the aspiration of the people to go to the provinces, to the countryside: we do not see it in our area. However, there are almost as many (46%) positions in regions as in Paris – for example, we are currently looking for a sponsorship manager in the provinces -, but we need to do a lot of research and be patient to convince them. . who hires them to move. .

How are recruitment methods changing?

For a very long time, recruitment was done exclusively through the personal network of employers, then, with the professionalization of the sector, specifically in HR (human resources), recruiters increasingly used advertisements. Now, in some positions, because of the tension I’m talking about, almost forced to proceed by direct approach, announcements are often no longer enough.

The direct approach has also become necessary due to the increasing accuracy of project -related job descriptions. Previously, they weren’t that good (I caricature so I could understand myself), so we hired profiles by leaving the affective dimension more dominant, charging the new hire that “make his place” in the project, in the organization. Today, organizations are driving missions and therefore the capabilities expected are more accurate and the number of potential candidates is necessarily more limited in the eyes of recruiters.

But the cultural sector is distinguished from others by smaller structures …

This is true, but it leads to another recruitment difficulty. Small structures require more knowledgeable employees who are competent in each of their missions, requiring more support when they enter the structure.

Is the small size of cultural structures in general a barrier to recruitment?

Not necessarily, and it all depends on each person’s background. I see many candidates who, at one time or another, agree to go with more moderate structures because they will allow them to take on more responsibilities. That said, the main issue in the cultural sector is under-remuneration, of the order of 40% compared to the private sector in the broadest sense with the equivalent profession. We are able to compensate for this gap in cultural functions where project and meaning count significantly, but for “support” functions (e.g. human resources) that can work on all sector, it remains a handicap. Add in flexible schedules. However, it seems to me that people today are more attentive to respecting the balance between professional and personal life. There is also a kind of pendulum movement with a search for “meaning” in their work, brought to them by the cultural sector.

Is there also a “generational shock” to working with culture?

The cultural sector has not escaped, on the contrary, the heavy trends of society. The new generation is well trained with high expectations in terms of responsibility and autonomy. It further distances itself from the paternalistic management that has marked many structures. It is also more aware of ecological concerns, diversity and respect for the legal framework. However, all generations are now faced with a need for flexibility and skills development, which is changing their professional trajectory. It’s no longer that easy to stay twenty years in a company, even in a cultural one.

Are the training courses adapted to cultural activities?

In general, yes, the training is rich, although there are shortcomings in some special professions, especially those associated with the art professions. Sometimes we work in conjunction with decorating workshops, and it is very difficult, for example, to find a head upholsterer or a head of a painting workshop.

How is the recruitment profession organized?

ProfilCulture is almost the only recruitment firm that specializes in culture, in any case it is the first! Other companies are usually generalist companies with a culture department, or companies specializing in recruitment for local authorities. Our strength is to have a “CV database” of 100,000 people, who have agreed to leave us their contact details so we can call them if a position matches their abilities. And our consultants know their sector very well, we know which door to knock on if we don’t have the person’s CV in our database. We also know how to look for candidates for “support” functions in sectors other than culture.

Yves Paumelle.

© Profilculture

Profilculture, an “old” start-up

ProfilCulture was created in 2004 by Yves Paumelle and quickly became the leading workplace in culture and media. The site broadcasts an average of 2,700 ads per month and receives 550,000 visits. The company then began a diversification of its activities with the formation of a specialized recruitment firm, a cultural engineering and organizational consulting firm, and a professional support firm. In 2019, ProfilCulture opened its first location abroad, in Italy. Yves Paumelle himself began his professional media career (in the magazine The Inrockuptibles) before venturing into finance for a while. She shared her passion for art with her husband, a professional artist.

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