0023 Symphony Services Australia Limited

General information

Submitterʼs name
Symphony Services Australia Limited
Submitted on behalf of
Professional body or industry association

About the submission

Is your organisation an Approved Sponsor for any of the following programs?
  • Temporary Work (Skilled) (Subclass 457) visa program
  • Employer Nomination Scheme (Subclass 186) visa program
  • Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (Subclass 187) visa program
  • Labour agreements
Please select the industry your submission is in relation to. If required, you may select multiple industries.
Arts and Recreation Services
Please identify which occupations your submission relates to:
Specific occupations (eg Chief Executive or Managing Director)
Please choose all occupations to which your submission relates.
111111 Chief Executive or Managing Director
139911 Arts Administrator or Manager
211212 Music Director
211213 Musician (Instrumental)


1. Are there additional labour market factors, for which there are national datasets available (ideally aligned to 6-digit ANZSCO occupation level), that are relevant to future refinements to the Departmentʼs analysis and methodology?

What is the frequency of data release?

Australia’s six symphony orchestras are part of the Major Performing Arts sector, with each orchestra internationally recognised for its artistic excellence. Together the orchestras employ over 2600 people, of whom currently 9 hold 457 visas. These numbers are tiny compared to other sectors, and consequently our visibility in national datasets is minimal. However, this small number of international employees is vital to the artistic success of the organisations and their ability to perform at world-class standard. ANZSCO related national datasets may therefore not be appropriate to use to form a view on the needs of this sector.

The orchestras use just four ANZSCO job codes for international appointments, and have an “Australians first” policy, only turning to international recruitment if an Australian is not able to fill the role. Skills gaps can occur in four job codes:

CEO or Managing Director -111111
Arts Administrator or Manager - 139911 (Currently STSOL)
Music Director - 211212 (Currently STSOL)
Musician (Instrumental) - 211213

We request that the two STSOL codes above be moved to the MLTSSL (Yellow in the Department’s Traffic Light Bulletin). Our concern is that with such small numbers, national datasets will not reflect our need nor the importance of the roles within these organisations. We request that the Department consult with Symphony Services Australia to obtain meaningful data and qualitative analysis of the need and justification for these codes to be moved

2. The Department is also seeking submissions on suitable datasets that are disaggregated by region. Please provide details if you are aware of such a dataset, including whether it is aligned to ANZSCO occupations and how often the dataset is updated.

As noted above, the symphony orchestras are just six relatively small companies, together employing around 2600 people and with just 9 457 visas across the companies. We are not aware of any suitable dataset that is disaggregated by region that would be relevant to our sector and useful to the Department.

However, Symphony Services Australia is able to provide information that is relevant to the orchestras and that can support their request to move job codes 129911 (Arts Administrator or Manager) and 211212 (Music Director) to the MLTSSL. Although there are few requests to use these codes, they are for highly skilled roles that are unable to be filled by Australians. Once appointed, international candidates also fulfil an extremely important role in training Australians and contributing to the artform. The orchestras invest a substantial amount in training and development of both young artists and also arts administrators (a niche role that requires very specific skills and experience), and engaging key international candidates in some positions assists them in this process.

3. Is there any other advice or evidence that the Department should consider in its review of the methodology?

While we appreciate the Department is seeking “evidence based” submissions, it is possible that the very small arts sector, which only employs a very small number of international candidates across all artforms, will not be able to provide evidence in a format that is consistent with the Department’s requirements. Yet these roles are vitally important to the success of the organisations that use them, companies that represent Australia on the world stage and are key to our country’s cultural diplomacy.

In an attempt to meet the Departments dataset requirements, the Australian Major Performing Arts Group (AMPAG) and Symphony Services Australia have developed our own survey, the Australian Major Performing Arts Skills Gap Survey. We will attempt to provide data that fits with the Departments requirements and will demonstrate the importance of the orchestras’ and other major performing arts organisations’ need. This survey will also demonstrate the very small numbers, but extremely important roles, that are involved in the orchestras’ request.

We also draw the Department’s attention to the AMPAG Salary Survey which places in context the salaries of relevant roles. It is noted that the arts sector traditionally pays lower salaries than the private sector. AMPAG has made a separate submission to this consultation and has attached the survey.

The Australia Council for the Arts is the key funding partner with the orchestras and may be able to provide additional data. ABS data being released on 23 October 2017 may also be useful.
Do you have any supporting material for your submission?

Last modified on Friday 10 November 2017 [38966|92781]