Culture for Competitiveness: How Vibrant Culture Attracts Top Talent

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This report examines perceptions of the arts and community attractiveness based on surveys of 500 Ontario-based skilled workers and 508 Ontario-based businesses with more than 20 employees. Each survey has a margin of error of 4.4 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Among skilled workers, 65% of survey respondents were in agreement that “a thriving arts cultural scene is something I would look for when considering moving to a new community” (31% agree + 34% somewhat agree). Similarly, 64% of businesses agreed that “a thriving arts cultural scene is something that makes it (would make it) easier to attract to talent to the community” (35% agree + 29% somewhat agree).

One-third of skilled workers (32%) indicated that they take part in a local arts and culture organization as a donor, volunteer, or regular subscriber. One-quarter of businesses (25%) said that they make an annual financial contribution to an arts and culture organization in their community, and another 16% sometimes do so.

The survey results show that skilled workers place more importance on artistic aspects of a community than businesses:

  • Regarding “theatre, plays and music concerts”, 36% of skilled workers indicated that they are an important element of what they look for in a community, while only 16% of businesses believe that plays and concerts are important for people considering moving to their community to work.
  • 34% of skilled workers indicated that “arts and cultural events and festivals” are an important component of what they look for in a community, while 25% of businesses believe that arts and cultural events and festivals are important for people considering moving to their community to work.
  • Regarding “museums and galleries”, 28% of skilled workers indicated that they are an important element of what they look for in a community, while only 9% of businesses believe that museums and galleries are important for people considering moving to their community to work.

Among seven different community elements in the survey, the above mentioned arts and culture aspects ranked fourth, fifth, and sixth (respectively) among workers and sixth, fifth, and seventh (respectively) among businesses. Parks and recreation activities ranked first for both groups. Proximity to natural environment ranked second among skilled workers and fourth among businesses. Restaurants and cafes ranked third for workers and second for businesses.  Sports facilities ranked seventh among skilled workers and third among businesses.

Skilled workers appear to be slightly less satisfied than businesses regarding what their community offers in terms of the arts and culture (except museums and galleries):

  • 52% of skilled workers and 60% of businesses are satisfied with their local arts and cultural events and festivals.
  • 49% of skilled workers and 52% of businesses are satisfied with their local theatre, plays and music concerts.
  • 49% of skilled workers and 48% of businesses are satisfied with their local museums and galleries.

These satisfaction levels rank relatively low among the seven community elements noted above (fourth, sixth, and seventh respectively among skilled workers, and fifth, sixth, and seventh respectively among businesses).

Given these findings, the report identifies a risk “that businesses do not see the potential to attract skilled workers to their community because they overestimate how well the community provides what skilled workers think is important”.

Summary: 

This report examines perceptions of the arts and community attractiveness based on surveys of 500 Ontario-based skilled workers and 508 Ontario-based businesses with more than 20 employees. Among skilled workers, 65% of survey respondents were in agreement that “a thriving arts cultural scene is something I would look for when considering moving to a new community” (31% agree + 34% somewhat agree). Similarly, 64% of businesses agreed that “a thriving arts cultural scene is something that makes it (would make it) easier to attract to talent to the community” (35% agree + 29% somewhat agree).