Friday, June 10, 2011

The wage survey questionnaire is on its way

Today we are mailing the questionnaires for our latest annual wage survey. Returning this survey is the easiest, the cheapest and perhaps the most important thing you can do for your Guild this year.

For those who aren't familiar: The Guild compiles an annual Wage Survey, a compilation of data from anonymous questionnaires sent to active and inactive members. We poll members to learn how much they have been paid for their most recent work in animation or CG. The results are compiled and printed in the Peg-Board and are available online. Here is our most recent wage survey.

Today the survey is being mailed to anyone who has worked under our jurisdiction in the last two years and for whom we have a mailing address, regardless of their current membership status. If you do not receive the questionnaire in the time it should have reached you by mail, call us at (818) 845-7500 and we'll mail another one to you. Next week we'll also provide a link to get a copy online. (However, please do not return more than one questionnaire.)

The questionnaire is totally anonymous. That being said, remember that under California state law no employer can discipline, intimidate or fire you for revealing your wages.

The need for this data to be available in a public forum is self-evident. First and most importantly, our employers already have this information, which makes it important for us to have it as well. (Here's to a more level playing field, say what?) Those of us applying for jobs or renegotiating their deals need the survey as a guideline to what to ask for. The Guild office frequently cites our surveys in everything from training grant applications to visa consultations, and it has been used in numerous publications.

We've made no secret that in the last few years the percentages of survey participation have been declining. At this point I'm still confident that the results are a reliable indicator of industry conditions, but I can also see it reaching a point where we have to decide whether releasing incomplete and therefore inaccurate data becomes self-defeating. To quote from a comment on a TAG Blog thread about the low response on a previous survey:

Oh yeah, be careful here fellow artists. If we actually took this seriously, discussed your wages with one another, understood the union is your advocate rather than your adversary, you just might just make better deals at negotiation time. I'll never understand why this survey isn't well into the eighty percentile or above in returns. Nobody would buy a car without researching the invoices, destination fees, taxes, licensing, and cost to insure before buying. All that information is available on line. The only way we get this kind of information for wage negotiations is from each other. So blow it off, throw it out, or draw turkeys on it. Way to take a stand against yourself. That's Genius.

For the three minutes it will take you to fill out and return the survey in its postpaid envelope, there is really no excuse. Please, return the wage survey ... for purely selfish reasons.

Add On by Hulett: We'll be firing off a lot of reminders over the next several weeks, begging and cajoling people to get the surveys in. We'll be doing a running percentage total here on the blog, letting people know how many survey forms have come back to us.

So look for further notifications and developments in and around this space, because we really, really want a higher total than the pathetic 25-30% we've gotten over the last few years. This whole exercise helps you, slaving away out there in Animationland, so get the forms back in. It's important.


Anonymous said...

have you thought of doing this survey online in anyway Jeff? For the expense of printing and mailing, there has to be a service out there to aid in such a task.

my guess is this would improve responses dramatically.

Jeff Massie said...

I agree it's worth looking into.

That having been said, my thought is that it would greatly increase the expense of doing the survey, without any guarantee that someone who won't take three minutes to do it on paper would agree to take three minutes to do it online.

Anonymous said...

How would it be more expensive to do it via email?

Anonymous said...

Will this information be available to artists who have not been lucky enough to land a job in a union shop?

Anonymous said...

its always available. here's last years:

Anonymous said...

"...without any guarantee that someone who won't take three minutes to do it on paper would agree to take three minutes to do it online."

The fact is, it does take more time & effort these days when everyone has an email and everyone in the union is, I would bet, online every single day, to do an online survey than open the letter, find a pen, sit down and fill it out, seal it up and get it to a mailbox. I'm sure there'd be WAY more responses online than by snail mail.

The expense would be negligible-the real effort would be to get all union member's emails(which imho the union should require at this point, as everyone working has an email-not true when this blog was started) and have an anonymous way to respond while ensuring the respondees are really union members and not the 90% of the goofballs who frequent the blog here.

Anonymous said...

Oops-what the above meant to say is that the REGULAR mail takes more "time & effort" than online would, not the reverse.

Steven Kaplan said...

Just to respond to Anon 6/12 12:42pm -

While what you say makes sense, you forget the stipulation of the Wage Survey that the participants be TAG members only. The time and expense would be in making sure of that.

You have to factor in a way to securely place the survey online and then get the proper code/access to TAG members. There is a significant cost in development and implementation.

You're also assuming that TAG members (whose emails we do have) read and respond to emails we send to them. I would argue that point.

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