New research commissioned into rates of pay for freelancers

Published: 24 Nov 2022

Creative Scotland has commissioned new research to inform the development of clearer and more consistent guidance on the application of Industry Standard Rates of Pay for Scotland’s freelance workers.

Culture Radar is working with Queen Margaret University to undertake the research and consultation which will take place over the winter months, with findings available in the spring.

Alastair Evans, Interim Director, Strategy at Creative Scotland said: “Creative Scotland is committed, through any activities we support, to ensure that artists and professionals working in the creative sector are paid fairly with appropriate terms and conditions and employment opportunities.

“The impact of COVID-19 caused immediate financial hardship for many and showed the inequality that exists within the arts, screen and creative industries. This includes the significant proportion of people who work on a freelance basis, where issues of comparatively low pay and uncertain employment conditions are common.

“As the sector recovers, if opportunities and budgets remain restricted, there is an evident risk that should this inequity not be recognised and acted upon, the working terms and conditions of many could deteriorate yet further.

“This research will help to create the conditions for more meaningful and sustainable opportunities to work across, and progress through, the sector.

Culture Radar’s Jeanie Scott said: “There’s a broad range of guidance, rates of pay and industry standards available to the sector currently – but we know there are significant gaps, and differences in how rates are being calculated.

“Findings from Culture Radar’s recent Review of Fair Work confirm that these confusions and anomalies present a real challenge for employers, funders and freelancers alike in knowing how to apply best practice and what represents a fair rate.

By identifying and addressing existing sector and practice-based anomalies, the research will inform Creative Scotland’s development of clear and consistent guidance on the application of Industry Standard Rates of Pay across its funding programmes, and help establish fairer working practices across the arts and creative industries.

The research activities (including desk research, in-depth interviews and sector consultations) will analyse existing guidance, explore the issues and challenges stakeholders experience with it and identify priorities for change.

Queen Margaret University’s Alice McGrath said: “We know there are challenges with establishing consistent guidance on Rates of Pay, and limitations and potential risks around implementing them, but it is a priority to do so.  It’s important we understand the context and challenges as best we can, so, it’s vital we have as broad a range of experiences feeding into our consultation sessions as possible in January.  There will be access bursaries to ensure freelancers contributing to the sessions can afford to do so.”

The research partners will be conducting desk research and interviews with Creative Scotland staff and representative sector bodies and unions in November and December, followed by open, online sector consultation sessions in January 2023.

Registration information for the consultation sessions will be announced by Culture Radar in December. Get in touch with their team at or visit the Culture Radar website for the latest news on events and to find out more about contributing to the research.


1. Scottish Government’s Fair Work Action Plan (2021) aims to see progressive workplace policies which improve productivity and innovation, promote greater workplace democracy, delivery opportunities and best practice and see adoption of the Real Living Wage and fair remuneration through its implementation. The Scottish Government’s vision is for Scotland to be a leading Fair Work Nation by 2025 with its people having a world-leading working life where Fair Work drives success, wellbeing and prosperity for individuals, businesses, organisations and society.

2. Culture Radar’s Review of Fair Work relates to implementation solutions proposed in the Review of Fair Work in the creative and cultural sectors in Scotland (2022), commissioned by Creative Scotland on behalf of the Scottish Government, as an action from A Culture Strategy for Scotland.

3. Detailed information and Fair Work resources can be found on Creative Scotland’s website.

4. Creative Scotland is the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across all parts of Scotland distributing funding provided by the Scottish Government and The National Lottery. Further information at Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Learn more about the value of art and creativity in Scotland and join in at

5. Culture Radar is a research and consultancy practice supporting strategic change in culture and heritage. It works with organisations, leaders, funders and policymakers to build resilient and impactful cultural businesses, communities and projects across the UK.

6. Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, aims to shape a better world through education, research and innovation. In doing so, we enable individuals and communities to flourish. Our person-centred approach to learning makes us stand out from other universities, along with our focus on making society better. Our academic offering also distinguishes us. We dedicate ourselves to subjects where we can offer a distinctive offering – in healthcare; social sciences; creative arts; business, management and enterprise; and primary and secondary teaching.

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