Earning power

Causing a bit of controversy in the 3D industry, vfxwages.com promises to offer VFX, animation and games industry professionals a database of typical salary figures for their job role and geographical location.

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With www.vfxwages.com, Industry Wages Inc hopes that creative artists across the globe will want an accurate portrayal of the current and future wages which they might be paid for their talents. Based on data entered by registered members, it could even tell artists whether they are on an average wage for their current studio. How valuable, or damaging, is such a resource in these already turbulent times for employers and employees?

Site founder and Industry Wages Incorporated president Aruna Inversen, a compositor at Digital Domain, set the site up with Brandon Ashworth.

“There is virtually no guarantee that a job will continue even if an artist is a staff employee,” says Inversin. “In this global environment, it is important to assess your value to a company, as well as all possible options for future employment.

The site allows people to search and compare salaries and wages, and that will allow them to negotiate effectively for adequate compensation of their talents.

Industry Wages Incorporated president Aruna Inversen

Industry Wages Incorporated decided to launch VFXWages first, since the current industries it services is something that the founders are intimate with. We hope to extend the site into larger industries beyond the creative ones.”

Currently in public beta, the site has three different types of accounts for users. Professional and freelancer accounts feature jobs with salary or hourly paid wages for those particular individuals. Student accounts are for those currently attending any post-secondary schools, or have recently graduated and are looking for work. Company accounts are for recruiters and managers or company owners. Inversin says that specialised services and tools are in the works for company users to take advantage of current data.

“The data so far has been very promising,” he reveals. “Several occupations have a number of wages entered per years of experience, and their accuracy is quite overwhelming. Previously, wages at many companies have been unknown, or it has taken several public searches across the web to get a closer look.”

At time of writing users are able to view all wage data points that the site has aggregated by 3200 users, distributed among four different creative industries: animation, motion graphics/broadcast, gaming, and visual effects.

“The graphs are the most successful at giving an overall view of the wages in these industries based on years of experience” says Inversin. “Since we’re still running in beta mode, some of the graphs may contain extreme outliers which we have not parsed yet. Mostly this deals with 0 values and extremely high values, which are fixed once the graphs are run every hour. All our possible combinations are listed, even empty graphs, so on some we just don’t have enough data points to make a graph.”

One occupation that does have enough entries to populate a full graph is compositors. “Even with people putting in zero, we can see that the hourly rate does increase over time, which gives us some great insight in that people are putting in valuable numbers, and the site is becoming more accurate.”

However Inversin admits that reaction to the site has been met with both kudos and disdain. “We received several emails critiquing us on the fact that many people just put in a zero number, to view the graphs we have, even though wage entry is anonymous,” explains Inversin. “Putting in zero or any low number brings the medians down, and as such, users get screwed. We flag the outliers, look at them on an individual basis and decide on whether it is a garbage data point or not.”

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