Theatre Forward, a service organization that provides funding and other resources to the leading nonprofit theatres in the United States, released a survey report, titled "Unmasking Business Success: Executive Perceptions of Arts Engagement and Workforce Skills," last month to explore the role of arts education in workforce development as perceived by those who hire and develop staff. Below are some of the highlights of the report as summarized in Huffington Post. The full report is downloadable from the official website of Theatre Forward.
Executives have an extremely low perception of the 21st century skills new employees bring to their jobs. Only 4 percent are seen as having leadership skills.
Unaided, few executives thought the arts could address this problem; but when prompted, 58 percent say that the arts can build these skills; and for many specific traits, such as ability to work with others, focus, perseverance, that percentage was over 70 percent. Creativity and Confidence were over 80 percent.
A majority of executives, 56 percent, say the arts develop job skills that are valuable in industries outside the creative sector. So arts engagement is not just for the Creative Economy!
Nearly 90 percent of executives participated in the arts in school; nearly half of them say the arts significantly contributed to their career success, and that ongoing participation in the arts impacts their compassion towards others. Arts engagement has a high correlation to career success.
Yet only 22 percent of executives think this justifies their business supporting the arts and arts education, and only 10 percent feel arts organizations do a good job communicating these benefits.