Entry to the museum workforce

Investigating entry to the workforce and developing a national strategy for workforce development

There are claims that there are too many museum-studies students, concerns about low pay, worries about workforce diversity and fears that staff are not progressing. There are too many applicants for some jobs and barely any for others.

Research for the Museums Association and the University of East Anglia has found that employers are usually delighted with the quality of people they are able to appoint to entry-level posts, especially with salaries so low.

However, there are five problems:

Problem 1

There is little diversity among entrants to the museum workforce. Museums want more people from minority-ethnic backgrounds, more people from poorer backgrounds, more disabled people - and more men.

Problem 2

There are also some areas of shortage at entry-level - for example, people with expertise in natural science and technology and, in some areas, education and learning staff.

Problem 3

Many individuals have an extremely difficult time securing their first reasonable museum job. Much time, energy and talent is wasted.

Problem 4

Museums are unsure of the value of university museum-studies courses and do not give them much support.

Problem 5

Although there are many applicants for entry-level jobs, museums often find it hard to recruit for junior and middle management posts.

These problems are identified in The Tomorrow People, a research report.

For more about The Tomorrow People, click here

The MA wants to improve the way museums recruit and develop entry level staff. To this end the MA, in collaboration with Creative & Cultural Skills, has developed an action plan.