Having to register before viewing the data, as well as lengthy terms and conditions, appear to have put some people off. Inversin insists this is not just a scam to harvest valuable personal data. “At this moment, the only thing we can guarantee is that your valuable wage is entered anonymously,” he says. “We truly cannot know who enters which wage, or how many wages you have entered. We have set this up so that a user can enter any number of wages throughout their life, giving the graphs even more appropriate numbers. Almost everything is anonymous, the only thing that isn’t, is your email address. We use that primarily to gauge how many users we have, and to allow a user to repeatedly log in. We are looking at other avenues of logging in, from OpenID, Facebook and Google.
At the moment, company members can be administrators for their own companies, and post jobs that place their position on a map, which can be easily searched. “We will be starting to populate the job listings search manually in the near future,” adds Inversin. “Student users have access to all our wage data without putting in any wage information, while professional users must put in at least one data entry.”
Leigh van der Byl, senior texture painter at The Moving Picture Company, is critical of the concept in general. “I honestly don’t believe [resources like this] to be particularly useful or productive, because artist’s salaries depend on far too many criteria in order for any useful statistics to be drawn from them,” she says. “I would guess that studios don’t pay much attention to typical salaries, as the salaries they offer probably depend on their own budgets. Even in a relatively small area like the London VFX scene, salaries can, and do, differ quite a bit between the different studios, and I rather doubt that a website full of anonymous information is going to change that.”
Justine White runs Finish, a Soho-based postproduction facility. She is in two minds about vfxwages.com. “I can see sites like this would be useful, since many post jobs don’t even reach job ad pages and it’s sometimes hard to know what is the average/typical wage for a particular job spec,” she says.
However White adds: “The only thing with this site is it seems pretty ‘big brother’ in knowing what average wages in a studio are. I think anyone who runs a company might find this concept a bit daunting. Many companies at the moment are trying to deal with seriously reduced budgets due to the credit crunch, yet keep as many staff on as possible and keep afloat. At the moment some of the freelancer rates make it unviable to do the job. Post houses are expected to be very flexible at the moment, and it is very challenging. The site definitely feels more in favour of the employees rather than employers.”
I would guess that studios don’t pay much attention to typical salaries. Salaries can, and do, differ quite a bit between the different studios, and I rather doubt that a website full of anonymous information is going to change that.
Leigh van der Byl, senior texture painter at The Moving Picture Company
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