This fall we released our recently commissioned survey, Unmasking Business Success: Executive Perceptions of Arts Engagement and Workforce Skills, at a panel event hosted at Microsoft featuring panelists Joanna Coles, Diane Paulus, Luis Ubiñas and moderated by Jim Turley.

The research, which underlines executive perceptions of arts engagement and workforce skills, demonstrates the strong role arts engagement can have on individual career readiness as well as career success.

Key highlights from the report are below, and a copy of the report is available for download as well as quotes from the event.

Key Report Highlights:

  • Executives believe arts engagement develops these critical workforce skills: Creativity, Confidence, Focus, Perseverance, Work Ethic, Accountability, Leadership
  • 89% of executives participated in the arts in some way while in school (performed in theatre, played an instrument, danced, etc.)
  •  When prompted, 58% say that the arts can build these skills.
  • 56% of executives say the arts develop job skills that are valuable in industries outside the creative sector.

Some of these points are further broken down in our recent Conference Board blog post and our Americans for the Arts blog post as well as Crains and coverage of the event.


Key Panelist Quotes:

  • “I don’t believe you can have a business career, in this day in age without fundamental training in creativity. You saw the survey; there are concerns about public speaking, concerns about creativity, concerns about writing, we are in an era where knowledge matters but creativity matters more.” – Luis Ubiñas, Advisor, Investor and Corporate Board Member
  • “Technology is eating people’s jobs and in the next twenty years the workplace is going to look completely different. The thing that we have to encourage people to do and train people to do is use their brains.[…] I think it’s nonsense to divide things and make it sound like business on one side and arts on the other and somehow we are different people. We have to train everybody in understanding the power of the brain, the power of ideas.”  Joanna Coles, Editor-in-Chief, Cosmopolitan
  • “As I am listening, I think we have to make a stronger argument that the arts give us people skills. […] There is something deeper, and I actually think it’s a problem for the arts in general. The arts has to establish its necessity as part of our American civilization. That is the problem. The arts are sidelined.” Diane Paulus, Artistic Director, American Repertory Theater
  • “What strikes me, is that on one level is it is about competitiveness. […] If we lose this, if we lose generations of our youth, and they lack the “soft skills” we’re talking about, I think it will be to our own detriment.” – Jim Turley, Chairman of Theatre Forward 

We hope that you will join the conversation online and welcome your thoughts and comments as we look forward to continuing the conversation.

The report was conducted by Shugoll Research and funded by The Schloss Family Foundation.