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The 2010 WritersUA User Assistance Salary Survey
Contractors and Part-Timers

LocationTrainingManagementOrganization SizeSatisfactionContractors/Part-TimersCanada and OthersJob Titles and CommentsSurvey 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 the U.S. respondents, 86 indicated that they work as either an independent contractor, through an agency, or are business owners servicing multiple projects. Although we separated the contractors into these three groups, there was not a statistically significant difference between the average salaries of the groups.

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 $41. 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. Half of the respondents earned between $30 and $50 per hour. The hourly wage rates in this sample group range from a high of $100 to a low of $20 and fall into the following quartile groupings:

Wage Rate
(in $/hr)
Lower quartile20-30
Second quartile31-37
Third quartile38-49
Top quartile50-100

On average, contractors receive an hourly wage rate that is only 11% higher than their salaried counterparts' average of $37. 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 only received responses from 7 people who indicated they work fewer than 35 hours per week. All seven were women. We separated these responses from the rest of the data.


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