New Museums Workforce Research Report Highlights Sector Skills Gaps

What attitudes, behaviours and skills are needed to ensure a thriving workforce in the museum and heritage sector over the next decade? A research report published earlier this week has found that professional and personal development should be a priority for the sector and that better resources are needed to enable this to happen. A summary of this report can be found here: Character Matters attitudes, behaviours and skills in the UK Museum workforce.

The Museums Workforce Research was commissioned by Arts Council England, together with the Association of Independent Museums, Museums Galleries Scotland and the Museums Association. The research included evidence based on 2000 online survey responses, interviews and consultations carried out by BOP Consulting with the Museum Consultancy and has highlighted 30 recommendations that focus on recruitment, skills and CPD, organisational and sector development.

AIM has welcomed this research, in particular the need for better business skills to support income generation. AIM members already excel at increasing their own income in a way that complements rather than conflicts with their core purpose and  AIM Success Guides such as Successful Retailing for Smaller Museums and Successful Business Planning can help strengthen skills in this area. The research also highlighted the need for development opportunities for boards and trustees. AIM has recognised the need for support for trustees’ development for some time, and we are able to offer opportunities in this area through the AIM Hallmarks Governance Programme.


 Image: courtesy of Brooklands Museum

Other research recommendations that particularly reflect needs in the independent museum sector include:

Recruitment campaigns which aim to give a fuller picture of what it is like to work in museums

*Museums and sector bodies should develop recruitment campaigns that promote the sector as a place to work. This could involve developing messages that give insight into what it is like to work in museums, and the broad range of skills and “personal qualities” needed. (Recommendation 4)

More funding opportunities for skills development, especially digital and business skills

*Sector bodies should create funding opportunities to support skills and knowledge development throughout the sector. Key areas for development include: • developing and applying digital skills • developing further business, management and leadership skills (Recommendation 12)

Encouraging workforce diversity in its broadest sense

*Sector bodies and employers should ensure that initiatives and approaches to diversify the workforce encompass the broadest definition of diversity, and are tailored to reflect regional and local needs (Recommendation 28)

Tamalie Newbery, AIM Executive Director said: “This research offers really useful signposts for future development of the museum workforce. We know that organisations can only be changed through the people who work in them – developing existing staff, trustees and volunteers and bringing in new talent. We are looking forward to working with all our partners in taking the recommendations forward.”

Download the summary report:

Character Matters attitudes, behaviours and skills in the UK Museum workforce.

Download the full report:

Full Report:  Character Matters attitudes, behaviours and skills in the UK Museum workforce.









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