Saturday, September 16, 2006

Where the Jobs Are...and Aren't

Let's look at work in America and Animation. First, a look at the BIG picture... And here are where the jobs haven't been created: In our little corner of the world, animation has been on its usual roller-coaster ride. Both short-term... and long-term... While overall employment levels in animation have risen over time, technology has been the driver these past half-dozen years; lots of animation artists without the right skill sets have been left on the side of the road. The part of the equation that isn't shown in the animation charts is, there are a lot of jobs in the non-union animation sector. (Specifically, games, visual effects, indie features, internet and broadcast animation/graphic arts.) While many production jobs -- particularly in television -- have moved off-shore, some work has come back. Beyond the cold statistics, anecdotal evidence suggests that many (not all) artists with experience are finding work. That work is now of shorter duration than ten years ago, but it IS out there. The other difference: wages were way up in the middle nineties -- particularly in feature animation but also in television. In retrospect, what we had was a one-time phenomonenon: a whole lot of jobs at Disney, DreamWorks, Warner Bros, Turner, and Fox chasing a limited number of qualified people...and salaries skyrocketed. This wasn't sustainable, and sure enough, over the next six years weekly paychecks fell back to earth. We are now, I think, in a more even-keeled mode, but jobs are always going to be pushed and pulled by outside events beyond our control. It's best not to take anything for granted. Too many artist in 1995 thought the gravy train would roll on forever. Turns out they were overly optimistic.


Anonymous said...

Steve, are those first 2 charts from the BusinessWeek print edition? If not could you please cite the source?

Kevin Koch said...

The charts are from the Business Week article Steve linked to. In a column beside the article is a heading, "Related Items." The charts are there.

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