THE 2008 WritersUA Salary Survey
Experience Gender Location Training Management Organization Size Satisfaction Contractors/Part-Timers Canada and Others Survey Home
The data values for those identifying themselves as contractors or part-time workers are significantly different than from the broader population. So we separated that data from the main set.
Of 1,069 total respondents, 72 indicated that they work as either an independent contractor or through an agency. We were only able to create reliable averages based on information from 64 U.S. contractors.
Average income is not a very descriptive statistic for this group because (1) many contractors are paid for every hour they work, and (2) a number of contractors work less than full-time. We converted reported income to an average hourly wage using the average number of weekly work hours submitted by the respondents. We assumed 50 weeks of work per year.
This pegs the average hourly wage at $46. Note that the limited sample size makes it inappropriate to use these figures for broad generalizations. Rates vary widely by regional area and experience level. The hourly wage rates in this sample group range from a high of $86 to a low of $18. Sixty percent of the respondents earned between $35 and $55 per hour.
On average, contractors receive an hourly wage rate that is 28% higher than their salaried counterparts' average of $36. This gap has increased from 23% in 2007. This is now above the 25% difference that existed in the 2003 survey. The size of the gap is important to contractors as very few of them receive non-monetary benefits, bonuses, or long-term contracts. These workers are expected to make up for the lack of this security through the overall higher wage rates that they receive. In addition, small business taxes cost many contractors 30 to 40% of their earnings. Coupled with the lack of insurance, vacation, and profit-sharing benefits, the reason people choose to work on contract often has more to do with quality of life issues than with compensation.
We received responses from 60 people who indicated they work fewer than 35 hours per week. We separated these responses from the rest of the data.
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