Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Salary Survey Post #4: Experience and Gender

People have been wondering how the gender breakdown we posted yesterday aligned with experience and roles within the museum. We didn’t ask respondents for their specific titles, just the general department they worked in, so this was a difficult thing to quantify. (People making gobs of money sometimes put “administrative” and sometimes put “collections” etc, so there wasn’t a clear way to differentiate among directors, head curators,very experienced secretaries etc. Clearer position titles: added to the list of future improvements!)

What I did was break down all respondents into 4 main categories, based (very roughly) on their level of experience. The divisions are somewhat arbitrary; I might run the data again with 0-5 years as entry level just to see if that normalizes the male salary averages a little. (More on that in a bit.) As you can see salaries do increase over time, albeit very slightly. An experienced museum professional can only expect to make an average salary equivalent to a high entry level marketer. [1]


The raw data chart is too large to include here, but here are the average salaries for each group. They were calculated using the high end of the range (i.e. $25,000-$30,000 would be calculated as $30,000) each respondent provided. For museos making less than $10,000 I used $10,000, and for those who said they were unpaid I used $0. The actual numbers might be slightly lower, but as Kat stated in the first entry there’s not a huge difference in the data if you use the low end of, the average of, or the high end of the range.

The “All Museos” category includes the 7 responses that didn’t specify male or female.


It’s difficult to say whether or not we had a good sample of males relative to the females. From my subjective point of view I think our ratio of male to female respondents (21:71 for full-time [2]) is roughly correct, but my workplace is all female and my museum studies program was only about 10% male. My personal experience might not be representative, although I doubt anyone would argue against the idea that the majority of museos are female.

While the overall ratio of male to female respondents might be correct, the ratio at each level is not. The number of males at each level had a tremendous effect on their average salaries. A smaller sample of males meant that each male salary had a disproportionate effect on the average. This can be seen below.


Female museo salaries and overall museo salaries rise at a steady (but slow) rate. Male salaries have crazy peaks and valleys all over the place. (Those are technical terms, naturally.) Maybe Kat will swoop in and calculate the rate of change for us at some point. As for me, I’m all mathed out for the week!

[1] Data arrived at via a highly scientific method called “poll your similarly-aged friends who work in marketing.”

[2] I knew I forgot something! This entry includes part time workers as well as full time workers. When I run the data again I’ll remove part timers so that our data is consistent across the board.

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