New study reveals businesses attract more skilled workers by engaging in arts and culture

Business for the Arts announces results of Culture for Competitiveness: How Vibrant Culture Attracts Top Talent

TORONTO, ON June 22, 2016 Business for the Arts (BftA) to announce the results of an important new study, Culture for Competitiveness: How Vibrant Culture Attracts Top Talent. Commissioned by BftA with support from Ontario Arts Council and research contribution by Nanos Research, the survey reveals to what extent the skilled workforce considers arts and culture a priority in community and corporate culture, and areas businesses could benefit by further aligning with these desires. 

Based on a random survey of 500 skilled workers and 508 businesses in Ontario, the study was conducted in April 2016 and will be presented by Nik Nanos, Chairman of Nanos Research, to the Toronto Region Board of Trade on Thursday, June 23, 2016. In an increasingly competitive and global landscape wherein the province and businesses of Ontario are exploring creative strategies to attract top talent, the study demonstrates that a vibrant arts and culture scene can be a major driver for communities to attract and retain employees.

“The study’s bottom line is that businesses need to make arts and culture more of a priority,” said Nichole Anderson, President & CEO of Business for the Arts. “Our culture for competitiveness study confirms that skilled workers seek out vibrant arts and culture hubs when making job decisions, but businesses who could benefit from the magnetic effect of culture are not investing in their arts and culture ecosystem.”

“It is an incredibly competitive landscape and businesses are constantly trying to find the best way to attract and retain skilled employees,” said Nik Nanos, Chairman of Nanos Research.“Working alongside BftA and Ontario Arts Council on Culture for Competitiveness allowed us to pull those key findings that are important in developing creative strategies to build the best corporate culture.”

“As a millennial, it’s imperative that the community I live in stimulates me beyond work and home. We need to be creatively, intellectually and socially compelled, as that directly impacts and inspires the work that we do. Nik did a great job capturing the voices of young talent in this report,” said Raji Aujla, National Strategist of Business for the Arts.

Detailed findings reveal that while 65 per cent of businesses and skilled workers agree that a thriving arts and culture scene is a driving factor when considering relocation, only 25 per cent of businesses make an annual financial contribution to an arts and/or cultural organization in their community. Other key highlights include:

Findings about skilled workers:

  • 32 per cent of skilled workers surveyed are donors, volunteers, or regular subscribers of an Arts and/or Cultural organization in their community
  • 49 per cent go to arts and cultural festivals two to four times per year
  • Just over half of participants said that a healthy vibrant arts and culture community has influenced their choice regarding which city they would want to work in
  • A vibrant arts scene is viewed as a positive aspect and an attractor for skilled workers when considering a new community
  • Skilled workers express a high level of community engagement and volunteering and this supports their interest and engagement in arts and culture in their community
  • Skilled workers in Toronto tend to value arts and culture more than those living elsewhere (85 per cent compared to 73 per cent)

Findings about skilled workers :

  • 53 per cent of businesses do not make an annual financial contribution to an arts or culture organization
  • 89 per cent of business owners said that the people they want to hire want to live in a community where they can feel like they can contribute to making it better
  • 75 per cent agreed that government support for the arts makes a more liveable community
  • 60 per cent said that there are usually more qualified and attractive potential employees in communities with a thriving arts scene
  • 64 per cent said that a thriving arts and culture scene is something that would make it easier to attract top talent to their community
  • 79 per cent of businesses say that their company did not choose to do business in their community because of the healthy, vibrant, arts and culture community
  • 26 per cent of businesses say that all of their locations are in a location with a healthy, vibrant arts and culture community
  • 27 per cent think that their participation in the arts or cultural association is important to their employees

The June 23 presentation at Toronto Region Board of Trade is open to the public. Tickets available for purchase at

Business for the Arts works at a national level to advocate for the impact of investing in the arts. For additional research findings, visit



Business for the Arts’ mission is to strengthen arts and culture in Canada by connecting arts organizations to business patrons as well as volunteers through artsScene and boardLink programs; by stimulating investment in the arts through matching incentives and sponsorship training for arts organizations with artsVest; by communicating the value of investing in the arts through advocacy and research; and by providing a platform for arts organizations to celebrate their outstanding business partners in the arts with our BftA Awards gala.


Nanos is one of North America’s most trusted research and strategy organizations. Our team of professionals is regularly called upon by senior executives to deliver superior intelligence and market advantage whether it be helping to chart a path forward, managing a reputation or brand risk or understanding the trends that drive success. Services range from traditional telephone surveys, through to elite in-depth interviews, online research and focus groups. Nanos clients range from Fortune 500 companies through to leading advocacy groups interested in understanding and shaping the public landscape. Whether it is understanding your brand or reputation, customer needs and satisfaction, engaging employees or testing new ads or products, Nanos provides insight you can trust.
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