VFXWages.com launches

Back in August we did a podcast and article with Steve Hulett from The Animation Guild where he made the comment “How many visual effects houses do you know say to their top guys “uh, keep it to yourself what you’re making”… it’s against the law.” He went to talk about his feelings that not talking about wages is bad for workers, but we all know that this can be a delicate area.

VFXWages.com has been in beta and has just gone public. It uses data from users to produce anonymous data to help people determine wages in the visual effects industry.

Read their press release after the jump:


SANTA MONICA, Calif., March 30, 2009 — For all those job-hunters in creative fields who need a strategic edge in the salary negotiation process – or who simply could benefit from the motivation salary knowledge can provide, Industry Wages Inc. has delivered a powerful new tool. The company has launched the website VFXWages.com as a free way for these professionals and students to determine the latest information on salaries and hourly wages in their market. Currently VFXWages.com provides pay information for individuals in the visual effects industry, particularly film and television visual effects, gaming, motion graphics, and animation.

“We’ve created a necessary tool for the pursuit of salary equality in this ever-changing job environment,” says Aruna Inversin, president of Industry Wages Incorporated and founder of VFXWages.com. “In creating VFXWages.com, we strive to give the community a streamlined way to identify an appropriate wage to expect or ask for in salary negotiations.”

VFXWages.com is a global tool that will help job-seekers see how they rate among other artists with similar skills and experiences in a particular location. Using the special Wages system, users can graphically compare wages and salaries around the world by typing in a city, state or zip code. Registrants can also obtain information about employment based on job title, company, start date and length of time the position will last.
“We use the anonymity of the web with the power of a community to give you the information you need,” says Inversin. “This tool allows you to compare yourself to others in your field around the world.”

The database of wages is normalized to a 260-day year or 40-hour workweek, based on the pay options available for that job. VFXWages.com uses this method because it is the most common way to aggregate wage information among the different methods that film and television studios use to pay their artists.
There are 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 perfect 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 that wish to take advantage of VFXWages.com’s special services to search for and recruit talent.

VFXWages.com is cross-browser and cross-platform compatible. Industry Wages Inc. strives to maintain and deliver a high-quality product; the company spent several months privately testing the VFXWages.com site in beta to make sure the website would guarantee customer satisfaction. Clients can find out about recent upgrades and the latest happenings on the “Latest News” section of the website.

7 thoughts on “VFXWages.com launches”

  1. Thanks a lot for this article, Jeff! The purpose of this page is really good. Hopefully more data and options will be added to it soon, then it would be a truly useful tool for those like me who want to get into this industry at some point.

    Daniel

  2. Nice idea, but there is a BIG flaw in this… I can easily register, pretend to be from one of the company’s in the list and create false salary information related to a job title; if say three people then do this (just so they can access the data as u r required to add a wage before you can view anything) then a median will be created that is completely false. I considered building a public site for rating fx studios, but the same problem would happen there, how can you anonymously prove the artist works or has worked at the studio in question?

  3. Yes Dom I thought exactly the same thing, as soon as I saw you had to contribute a salary before viewing the statistics.
    If this site is set up by someone who is or has access to people at the top of the food chain, perhaps gathering information for a separate set of statistics from a select few trusted sources might give more accurate information.

  4. I agree with Dom, without any verification check anyone can input data and there is no way to tell if the data collected is at all accurate and reflects any relevant wage information. There should be a strict set of rules how to submit and collect the data otherwise it’s a waste of time. One way to gather this data would be by requiring that a pay stub (with name crossed out ofcourse) be submitted to VFXWages and I doubt anyone is willing to send this information out. I’m a little surprised fxguide woud even post this article.

  5. We posted because it is a topic that we thought would interest our readers. The people behind vfxwages are fellow working artists trying to help people. It is a challenge for sure and the questions you raise are good ones. I will ping them and see if they can answer some questions.

  6. Hi all.. I’m the president of Industry Wages Inc. and founder of VFXWages. I was directed here by Jeff. I want to address a couple of your concerns, and put some of your fears to rest.

    I am a digital compositor. I’ve been doing feature films and television for 10 years and I’ve worked in Canada, Australia, and the US, both as a staff artist and as a freelancer. I know how unsure you may be about asking for more money, or if you’re getting lowballed or not, or if your freelance rate is too low or too high (yes, that can be a problem in todays cost-cutting world).

    The purpose of the site is to give artists, like you and me, a way to view wage data and gather enough information to ask for an appropriate amount during salary negotiations. VFXWages was an idea that I had a long time ago (actually, when I started in VFX), but only recently had enough technical support to pull it off. We started private beta in October, and after a mildly successful private beta period we opened it up to the public for more data.

    Like other user-inputted social sites out there, there is no verifiable way to confirm that a salary or rate is accurate. That’s just one of the perils of user-generated content. I CAN tell you however that the more data we have, the more the outliers, or false points will become apparent. Over the past week we have double in user size, and our data points have quadrupled. We do have analyses done to make sure that users don’t spam the site (yes, you can put in 0.00, as I’ve seen some wages entered. It only hurts everyone. We are removing those points anyway). The big plus is that there are more employees and former employees of the companies on the list than there are managers and head-honcho guys. Sure, every head honcho could spam a bunch of wages onto the list, but we’d know about it, remove the wages, and remove the account. The law of statistical averages will work out in the artists’ favor, simply because there are more of us! If you are registered, please take a look at the compositors, film & television graph that we have available on the wages page. This is one of the graphs that we have a plethora of datapoints for, and a slowly increasing hourly median rate is visible. At the link below, I’ve provided a graph for the Overall Hourly Wages in USD for the US West Coast (you can break it down by other regions and countries as well). This is an aggregate of over 800 wages, just for the west coast!

    http://www.digitalgypsy.com/vfxlog/archives/uploadedfiles/overallwage.jpg

    Highs and lows are just that, the highest and lowest wage we received, which might be accurate, or not. That first year high listed above is probably not, but it doesn’t affect the median (which is the most meaningful), because we have a lot more accurate entries.

    So.. Why trust us with your data? We don’t know what you, personally, are earning. As a veteran in this field, I feel confident that the wages we have provided so far are accurate (when we have enough data!), and will grow in accuracy as more and more artists find their way to the site.

    There is another site out there which is doing the same thing, and while I hesitate to mention them, you’ll probably find your way over there. Glassdoor.com is a salary and wage site for ALL industries. As such, they lack the dedication and attentiveness to the VFX/3D industries, unlike us. In order to access their wage data, you have to enter a wage as well!

    Feel free to contact me at aruna at VFXWages.com if you have any questions, comments or concerns. The site was built for artists in mind, and giving you the information you need when you want a raise, move companies, go to another city for work, and finding out what to charge as a freelancer.

  7. I applaud the efforts of VFXWages.com. It is long overdue that the mysterious subject of who gets paid what in the VFX business is addressed.
    Granted, the accuracy of the database will be questioned, but I feel with the right checks and balances in place, it will be better that what is out there right now. At least this can be called a good start!

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