Can’t Buy Me Love

Does dedicating your life to the non-profit world mean you have to go broke? I was recently sent the American Alliance of Museum’s 2012 Museum Salary Study, the first comprehensive effort to record compensation averages across the country. As an emerging museum professional, I’ve already been presented with that blank box on job applications. You know the one – Salary Requirements _________. With no previous salary to rely on (I’ve been a student my whole life), the question is daunting. “How much do you think you’re worth?” Ask for too little and you don’t think highly of your career aspects or experience. Ask for too much and you come off as arrogant. My professor advised my colleagues and I that we don’t have to be poor to work in the museum field. You just have to make career decisions that are also sound financial decisions. I definitely recommend checking out the above report. It gives great advice regarding salary averages based on size of institution, job title, and geographic location. As the report states, information is power!

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About catebay

Informal educator working in the world of art. Interests in public programming and community advocacy. Loves learning about people, collecting blue mason jars, and consuming Swedish fish.
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6 Responses to Can’t Buy Me Love

  1. The report suggests that with thoughtful career planning you don’t have to be poor in the museum field!

  2. catebay says:

    Exactly! I found it very helpful – especially with the impending job search!

  3. lizcongdon says:

    Wow what an interesting report! Thank you so much for posting about it! I was happy to see that for the majority of positions, salaries were about $5,000 higher for people with their masters (above bachelors). This means that our degrees will pay for themselves sooner than thought!

    I was really surprised to see that 57.2% of directors/CEOs are women (only 42.8% are men, page 13). This goes against our friendly jokes this semester that museum directors are usually old white men!

    One thing that I wish was explained more however were the percentages of museum employment by race. Page 87 says that the the percentages of museum employees in each racial category roughly matches the percentage breakdown of the US population (ex. 74% of the US population is white and 79% of employees are white, 12% of the US population is black as are 11% of employees). This section makes no distinction between hourly positions and full-time positions. Gretchen has said that blacks and Hispanics are more likely to be employed in hourly positions (such as security and admissions) than full-time/administrative jobs. How do you wordpressers feel about this? What types of jobs do we think “Museum Workforce by Race” includes?

  4. Pingback: Meet a Museum Blogger: Cate Bayles | Museum Minute

  5. tarajeannek says:

    Hi there!

    Just found your website, I love it! I found this report extremely interesting, however, I have sad news to report.

    As an emerging museum professional with an MA in arts management and 3 years of experience at a previous museum, I currently work in the “Development B” category at a $10 million budget museum in a major US city–my salary falls in the low 10th percentile….

    This report really put things in perspective for me, and I find the range in salaries quite alarming and frustrating!

    I love my field and my job, but when do we get the pay jump!?

    • catebay says:

      Thank you so much for your comments! I realize that this report can be both eye-opening and frustrating at the same time. Depending on how long you have been at your position and how comfortable you are with your superiors, maybe it’s time to have a conversation about your future in that role. If you desire a greater salary, by all means start searching around for a position that will utilize your talents and also pay the bills!

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