What is it like to work as a
1 in 3 professionals in the arts operate as Self-Employed Persons (SEPs). This proportion of SEPs is higher than the national average, which stands at less than 1 in 5. Gig work accounts for the main livelihood of many professionals in the arts and wider creative industries and is expected to rise on the back of a growing gig economy.
SEPs have the freedom and responsibility of shaping their career, one that suits their personal interests and professional needs. The benefits of being an SEP include a flexible work schedule, the ability to work remotely and having a variety of projects. This flexibility is desirable, especially for creatives, enabling them to explore collaborations with other creatives. SEPs may also have a higher earning potential since they get to set their own rates and take on as many clients as they can manage.
The drawbacks include volatile income flows and job instability. SEPs also lack regular employee benefits, such as employer-sponsored training, paid leave and medical coverage. They also have to take responsibility for their own insurance and retirement plans. To better support SEPs in unlocking new opportunities, grow meaningful careers, as well as build self-reliance and resourcefulness, NAC initiated the Arts Resource Hub.
What key skills would
Self-Employed Persons need?
Self-Employed Persons (SEPs) operate as mini-enterprises and would need unique skillsets to help them manage their own business. They need to be self-starters and have enterprising skills and attitudes to succeed. Competence in business operations such as finance, and branding is also critical. Basic legal knowledge, including contract negotiation, is also needed to protect their work and rights. SEPs must adapt to changes and new market segments to have sustainable careers. This makes upskilling — by continuing to learn new skills and refining existing ones — crucial to help SEPs remain competitive and relevant.
Below is an infographic summarising the key skills needed for SEPs:
For more information on skills, please refer to the following:
- Skills Framework for Arts – Guide to Occupations and Skills (Arts Education)
- Skills Framework for Arts – Guide to Occupations and Skills (Technical Theatre & Production)
For more resources for SEPs in Singapore, please visit NAC’s Arts Resource Hub.
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