In 2019, 15,500 people 16-74 years old are estimated to have been in cultural employment, according to the Icelandic Labour Force Survey (IS-LFS). That accounts for 7.7% of total employment, the same proportion as in 2018. Within that group, just over a third was employed in cultural industries, while two thirds were in cultural occupations in other industries. Within cultural industries, a little over half was in cultural occupation while a little under half was in other occupation in cultural industries. The proportions are very similar to those seen for 2018.

In 2019, women accounted for 59.4% of cultural employment, compared with 45.1% in other employment. For the past five years, women’s ratio has been consistently higher in cultural employment than in other employment. The proportion of self-employed was also considerably higher within cultural employment, or 24.4% compared with 10.6% of other employment.

Most employed in the performing arts
According to register-based employment, 3% of total employment was in cultural industries (approximately the same results as the LFS indicator). Of those 81.5% were living in the capital region, compared with 63.1% in other industries. Proportionally fewer immigrants were employed in cultural industries than in other industries in 2019, or 9.1% to 19.6%. Within the cultural industries, most people were employed in creative arts and entertainment activities (category 90) in 2019 or 15.2%. Libraries, archives, museums and other cultural activities came second (category 91) with 14.5%. These proportions have changed somewhat in the past 10 years.

About the data
This data comes from both the Icelandic Labour Force Survey (IS-LFS) and the register-based employment (RBE). Cultural employment refers to the definitions of Eurostat.

In IS-LFS data there is a cross-tabulation of cultural occupations (ÍSTARF95) and cultural industries (ÍSAT08) which Eurostat categorizes as ‘fully cultural’. Cultural employment thus refers to all occupations in cultural industries as well as cultural occupations in other industries.

As the RBE data does not include information on occupation classifications (ÍSTARF95), only industries are included and therefore only those employed in cultural industries counted.

The Icelandic labour force survey (IS-LFS) is a sample-based study where data are collected from participants through telephone interviews. In addition, demographic data are derived from the National Registry. The data are collected continuously throughout the year. The year is divided into four 13-week periods and the sample is about 5,000 individuals each quarter. The sample is divided evenly over the 13 weeks and each participant is asked about their position in the labour market during the reference week of the study as well as other questions, e.g. education and labour market experience. A random sample of 16-74 year olds is drawn from the National Registry and those who are included in the sample are asked about participation in the labour market for a certain period.

Register-based employment (RBE) is a count of individuals from monthly tax-registers as well as population data. Tax register data are based on data from the Iceland Revenue and Customs reflecting the settlement agreement of Pay-As-You-Earn (PAYE) tax of wages and salaries and/or presumptive income of the self-employed, as outlined in act No 45/1987. The settlement agreement from IRC has been enriched with added information so that it can be used for the production of official statistics, for instance to be able to distinguish between PAYE tax of wages and salaries from other PAYE tax, such as that of old-age pensions, social security payments and grants. Population data derive from Registers Iceland.


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