2023 Recommended Rates of Pay

The Scottish Artists Union has from its inception been concerned with establishing recognised national standards in artists’ contracts and payments, as it is often difficult for artists to quantify the value of their work. We have therefore prepared some recommended rates of pay which members may wish to use as a guide when negotiating payment for their work on short-term contracts, sessional work and residencies that are paid on a self-employed basis.

The Scottish Artists Union is conscious that the economic climate remains difficult it is however important that it continues to promote an appropriate increase in the typical rates of pay we recommend.

Due to the unprecedented levels of inflation we are currently experiencing, we have decided to raise our recommended rates for the remainder of this tax year, we are therefore applying an average increase of 10% to all our previous hourly rates, compared with the rates for 2021/2022. (Earlier rates for 2022/23 are now in brackets). Usually our rates are increased in time for the new Tax Year at the start of April, so these rates will be increased again at that time.

Rates of Pay should apply to a wide range of freelance and short contract employment from consultancy work, project planning and development, to all aspects of workshop delivery (set up, execution, clear up) and other freelance activity.

N.B. Rates exclude the artist’s expenses for a specific project and VAT where relevant. We have rounded up the rates to the nearest £0.50.

Hourly Rates 2023 

£26.20* per hour for a new graduate artist (previous rate £25.50)

£34.00 per hour for an artist with +3 years' experience (previous rate £33.00).

£42.00 per hour for an artist with +5 years' experience (previous rate £41.00).

Sessional Rates 2023

Day rates are based on an 8-hour day, minimum ‘call’ is for a 4-hour session. Additional hours over 8-hours should be at a minimum of the appropriate hourly rate (see above). Consideration should be made for additional/overtime hours in any given day - for example (Rates of Pay x 1.5) for additional hours or (Rates of Pay x 2.0) for out of normal hours/weekends/holidays. 

New Graduate Artist 

£105.00  4-hour minimum call (previous rate £102.00).

£210.00  8-hour day rate (previous rate £204.00).


3+ Years' Experience 

£135.00  4-hour minimum call (previous rate £132.00).

£270.00  8-hour day rate (previous rate £264.00).


5+ Years' Experience 

£168.00  4-hour minimum call (previous rate £164.00).

£336.00  8-hour day rate (previous rate £328.00).

These variations in rates relate to qualifications/experience, which is defined by ‘years as a working artist,' and would be evidenced by a professional CV, indicating the artist’s records and/or unique attributes.

Residency Rates 2023

N.B. These residency rates are guidelines aimed at organisations who offer artists residencies, where the artists are solely focussing on their development for a period of time and receiving the other benefits of being on a residency. They do not apply to self-organised development or individuals running freelance projects over a longer time period.

New Graduate Artist: £28,334 p/annum (pro-rata) (previous rate £27,819)

5+ Years' Experience: £41,569 p/annum (pro-rata) (previous rate £38,924)

All residencies should be calculated on a pro-rata basis (based on 48 working weeks within a year) where the residency is of 20+ working days.


*This is slightly higher than 10% increase. This was recalculated to bring into line equivalent ‘employee rate’ of the current Real Living wage of £10.90.  


These Recommended Rates of Pay are provided for guidance purposes, as artists are, at all times, free to negotiate rates of pay different to those set out above. Rates assume appropriate professional conduct by the Artist.

The Scottish Artists Union encourages all artists and those who wish to contract artists, to make use of this information. Please contact us directly, if you have any questions or comments.

N.B. These rates can be downloaded as a PDF file here.

Yours in Solidarity,

Executive Committee, Scottish Artists Union


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