Berlin artists face poverty, meagre pensions and a yawning gender pay gap, survey reveals

Artists in Berlin, the most important contemporary art production centre worldwide after New York, are facing poverty, tiny pensions and a gender pay gap of 28%, a survey of 1,745 artists has shown.

The average amount of income from artistic work is just €9,600 a year, with half of all artists earning less than €5,000, the survey found. The “hidden scandal” in these figures is that while men earn on average €11,662 a year, women earn only €8,390 per year, the study’s author says. That means a gender pay gap of 28%, above the general average of 21%.

A majority of artists rely on other sources for income, and for 80%, artistic work is a loss business, the survey found. Only 24% of men and 19% of women could cover their living costs through their art.

The average expectation for pensions among artists is just €357, with more than half expecting less than €280, the survey found. Nine in 10 artists face poverty in old age.

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