Wednesday, January 6, 2010

What is fair compensation?

My dear Museos, here is the million dollar question:

What is fair compensation?
What would you like to see included in a compensation (financial and otherwise) package from the museums where Museos work?

Here are some categories:
-financial compensation
-maternity leave
-compensation for evening/weekend work (beyond usual 40 hour work week)
-unionization options

Comment on all of these and more. If you want to keep it anonymous, that's fine. And while you are at it, take the little quiz on the sidebar to the right. And then be sure to take the salary survey if you haven't done so already. Once we get the salary survey done, maybe we will do a benefits survey. Who knows.


  1. I would add:
    -opportunities for advancement
    -clear criteria for performance evaluation
    -professional development opportunities

    When I've been on staff at museums, opportunities to be creative, take responsibility, and advance my skills were much more important to me than pay.

  2. I'll kick things off as best as I can.

    Fair compensation doesn't imply riches. In the US at least, I would say fair compensation is what Smithsonian employees make. You aren't going to get rich in government service; engineers etc make MUCH less working for the government than they would in the private sector, but with museums this trend is reversed. Museos with government positions have the following:

    - Job security
    - A decent salary that ranges (roughly) from $30K to $150K. But the most important point with this salary is that if you sign on for a job where you're making $30K, that doesn't mean you will be making $30K until you retire. There's ample room for internal advancement. It's not like my organization where, after 10 years of service at the exact same salary, they will give you an extra 5 vacation days. Whoop dee doo.
    - 10 paid annual holidays
    - Between 13 and 26 paid vacation days annually
    - 13 paid days sick leave annually
    - Insurance coverage: health, vision, dental, life, accident and injury, etc.
    - Professional interest and peer groups
    - An on-site childcare center
    - More details here:

    I would argue that their maternity leave options aren't the best, and I'm not sure what the overtime policy (they claim a "flexible schedule" which is usually HR talk for "we will ask you to work at any hour of the day") is or the unionization options are. Still, the Smithsonian remains--rightly or wrongly--the gold standard for museum compensation in the US.