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Icon’s Coronavirus survey suggests conservators planning to stay within sector

The ongoing Coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis presents challenges to the heritage sector and the people who work in our field. To understand the continued impact of restrictions and the Government’s Coronavirus policy, Icon ran a survey asking employers and employees in conservation to share how they have been affected. 

Nearly 90% of respondents to the employees survey indicated they were planning to stay within conservation work. Similarly, only 4 percent of business owners and self-employed workers who took the survey, suggested they were planning a move away from the sector.

This is in positive contrast to recent findings by Museums Freelance Network, which showed that a quarter of museum professionals were planning to look for work outside of the sector. 

Nearly three quarters of employee participants predicted their income would remain stable, with 6% forecasting an increase. While many respondents described feeling “secure” in their employment, this was accompanied by feelings of being “over-stretched” and “stressed.”

The results of the business owners and self-employed survey demonstrated a 71% decrease in the revenues of conservation businesses compared with normal expectations. Worrying trends can also be seen in the operation of businesses (only a quarter were operating as before the outbreak) and in respondents’ reflections on their mental health. 

In recognition of the continued challenges faced by private practitioners, Icon wrote to the Chancellor last week, calling for an urgent rethink of support measures for self-employed workers and the establishment of a Future Workforce Commission to build resilience into the workforce. 

We will be analysing the results in more detail and publishing a full report on the findings in January 2021. Thank you for everyone who took part in the survey and helped to increase our evidence base in support of Icon's advocacy work.  

Read our first Coronavirus Impact Survey report.

It really matters – and we need your help. Icon makes the case to decision makers on issues that affect cultural heritage, and members are the foundation of our efforts. We want to give confidence that cultural heritage is cared for by fully qualified and capable professionals. Will you join us


Image: Creative Commons



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