I followed my dream of becoming an artist by going through a 4 years animation program and got a job soon after graduating.

I love the job, I love my co-workers, including my supervisor and my boss, I feel stimulated by the work I do and I am learning. I have a positive attitude and am proactive at work, actually, since the very first week I been there, my work started standing out and rapidly got known as being excellent.

And yet, with each passing months, I grow more and more and more frustrated, not with the office, but with the company itself, whoever is in charge of wages, and in a way, society itself. Why do I earn only 30,000$ a year, the strict minimum to be able to even survive, for a job that took a full decade of dedication and hard work, including a 4 years university program to become a professional and be able to do what I do?

I feel constantly slapped in the face by random discussion with friends or family when they mention someone getting an internship with a salary equivalent or higher than mine, or someone getting again, the same or higher salary for something that requires no education.

I feel undervalued, Underappreciated and disrespected by a company that boasts monthly about their millions of dollars in net profits, and yet has a reputation by the workers to being extremely cheap with raises and bonuses to their workforce.

Not only that, but I am also a "temporary" contract based employee with no insurance of any kind, no vacations and no paid sick days. Why am I told by relative that believing I should be paid 40,000$ a year instead of 30,000 is somehow entitled when I don't even earn enought right now to save and build a future for myself?

It drives me nuts that companies that rake in hundred of millions in revenues are allowed to give back such low wages and I often feel like I should just hand in my resignation and work on my own.

I'm getting close to my 30s and yet I feel like I can't even dream of owning a car or a house before my 40s while my parents already had all of those in their mid 20s!

Are things worse than ever? Why are entry salaries so low?

  • 13
    Supply and demand. – Laconic Droid Mar 12 '16 at 3:09
  • 6
    Would you rather have a higher salary doing something else, or have your current job? – Patricia Shanahan Mar 12 '16 at 5:33
  • I will most probably need 10-15 years to become a buddhist monk. It does not mean that I will be able to get a huge paycheck after it. – Salvador Dali Mar 12 '16 at 9:31
  • The lesson (a bit late for you): When you choose what you want to do in your life professionally, look at what you like to do, and look at what it pays. Videogame industry is notorious for exploiting young developers who think it is the perfect job. – gnasher729 Mar 12 '16 at 14:14
  • Did you actually research industry salaries before making the leap and changing careers? Or did you just chase your dreams without any actual knowledge of the reality of those dreams? Just because you want to be paid a lot of money to do something doesn't mean someone has to pay you a lot of money to do it - you really went into this with unrealistic expectations imho. – Moo Mar 12 '16 at 14:45

Quite frankly, I think this has a lot to do with your chosen profession. Art skills are considered less valuable than many other skills, like tech, engineering, medicine. Animation also is in lower demand than many other types of art related jobs, such as graphic design, and yet tend to attract a disproportionate number of people. Supply outweighing demand also lowers pay. Temporary contract work is also extremely common as an animator, because animation is often required as part of a larger project, such as a video game, where animators are only really useful in the second half of the development cycle, and so animators are hired temporarily for that time, and let go when there's no more work for a while.


In short, it's because you don't get paid for something based on how long it took you to learn it. You get paid for something based on how many jobs are out there vs. how many qualified people there are for those jobs and how necessary the job is to the viability of any one project. Animation is a creative field so there are a lot of people out there who want to do what you do (and as implied, the issue isn't that what you're doing is considered "less valuable" but really the opposite: in spite of all the training there are a ton of people out there who want to do what you do).

Additionally, only a relatively small slice of jobs require animation (really, it's pretty much game development and that's it) so unlike, say, web development, you only have a few game dev companies and the odd smattering of medical professionals on the labor demand end instead of virtually every medium to large business in existence. Since there are more animators out there than there are animator jobs, some of those are going to get filled by people willing to make less money than they "should" be making, and then you, as an entry level person, are where you are.

  • Keep in mind that not only games need animations. They're also needed in advertising, movies, concerts, music videos etc. – Radu Murzea Mar 12 '16 at 10:40
  • @Radu Murzea: Though in a lot of those, animations are not strictly needed. They'll be used if cost-effective, but if some other technique will get the desired effect for less money, that will be used instead. – jamesqf Mar 12 '16 at 18:54
  • More to the point: animation is one area in which automation is growing by leaps and bounds. Also the tools are becoming simpler every year which means the required "skill" of an animator is dropping each year. – NotMe Mar 14 '16 at 13:55
  • I suspect that there will be a market for good animators for some time to come, but sure, some bits are being automated that didn't use to be. – NotVonKaiser Mar 14 '16 at 14:09

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