More than half of the entertainment industry support workers who responded to a new survey made $40,000 or less in 2021, while more than a quarter made less than $30,000.
The number of respondents earning $50,000 or less increased between 2020 and 2021, from 79.11 percent in 2020 to 91.05 percent in 2021. the latest annual wage and employment conditions survey from interest group #PayUpHollywood also finds. Five hundred and twenty-three support staffers — current or former assistants at studios, production and development companies, talent agencies, and in production and post-production departments — participated in the latest report, which opened between November 16, 2021 and January 1. , 2022 and the results of which were published on Thursday.
The research highlights that, according to California Housing Partnership’s 2021 Affordable Housing Needs Report for Los Angeles County, tenants must earn more than $79,524 per year to avoid being “cost-burdened” or using more than 30 percent of their annual income on housing costs. . According to this statistic, at least 95 percent of survey respondents would be considered “burdened with costs.”
About 64 percent of respondents reported being required or “strongly encouraged” to pay out-of-pocket expenses, such as fees for cloud storage, dry cleaning, computers and streaming services. #PayUpHollywood says out-of-pocket expenses that were only partially reimbursed or not at all increased due to some support staff working from home in 2021 during the COVID-19 pandemic. When it comes to total compensation, the report found that 49.03 percent of respondents said they were pressured to change time cards in a way that under-worked hours were reported.
To highlight pay disparities, the survey juxtaposes the salaries of top Hollywood executives and their companies’ support staffs in a pair of infographics: Netflix co-CEO Reed Hastings, for example, made $1.6 million a week, while a support worker who conducted the survey and worked on a Netflix-produced project earned $1,200 a week, according to the report. Former Discovery CEO David Zaslav (now president and CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery) made $725,000 a week and a Discovery project support person made $1,600 a week.
“We wanted to provide a different set of data this year,” Liz Alper, co-founder of #PayUpHollywood, said in a statement. “The aftermath of the pandemic has the potential to further reduce the pay of support staff in Hollywood. Currently, studios and Hollywood companies are sticking to the ‘There’s no money’ story. We’ve published the salaries of some of Hollywood’s most recognizable CEOs to showcase our current dystopian reality: As support staff begs for a 25 cent raise, are forced to work a second job and take on unreimbursed work costs, the leaders of these companies more than ever before.”
Three years after #PayUpHollywood started as a grassroots movement in 2019, the group also announced on Thursday that it is partnering with Women in Film Los Angeles. The Los Angeles Times reports that this partnership will provide #PayUpHollywood with an opportunity to raise money as a non-profit. “WIF is proud to support the important work #PayUpHollywood is doing to advocate sustainable wages for support staff in our industry, many of whom are women,” said Kirsten Schaffer, CEO of Women in Film, in a statement. “We know that women, especially women of color, have been hit hardest in recent years by rising wealth inequalities. We hope the results of this dazzling study will shed light on these inequalities so that they can be corrected.”
The latest #PayUpHollywood survey shows that to address financial problems and improve working conditions for support staff, employers can offer employers a 3 to 5 percent annual pay increase, distribute anonymous workplace surveys and provide a “workplace assessment” can perform performed by a third party. The research also suggests that employers could offer more box rentals and expense allowances for working from home and “create a wage preference” — in other words, support staff offer competitive wages and benefits compared to workplaces in comparable industries.
#PayUpHollywood highlights in their report that there is downward pressure on assistants as the entertainment industry simultaneously screams about diversity and inclusion initiatives. Alper says in her statement, “The solution to solving inclusion and equality problems in Hollywood must also recognize the financial inequalities the industry has created for those who have just gotten a foot in the door.”