The advertising industry doesn’t have a union. Freelancers don’t have a union (although Freelancers Union is still a great resource). But, just because there isn’t a formal union established to protect us and ensure we are all getting a fair rate and working conditions, does not mean that we can’t protect each other and help each other achieve fair rates and working conditions.
The key here is transparency.
At some point, we’ve all been programmed to think that talking about money or benefits is dirty. I know a senior copywriter who I have known for years and who has never revealed their rate to me. I’ve asked point blank when considering referring him for a role. If you think this is none of my business, you are wrong. It is literally my business. Not only do I not want to waste people’s time referring them for a role that I know doesn’t have the budget for their rate, I am also a senior level writer and it is important to have similar professionals to compare/contrast rates to in order to ensure no one is under-valuing their work.
I hate the hush-hush around rates. There are several agencies and recruiters in this town who I love, even some who have gone to bat to get me the rate I deserve, but, at the end of the day, they are not my allies. They are not my comrades. They are not on the same team as me at all. Agencies and recruiters (even those who mean well and are wonderful) are not on your team. They benefit from a lack of communication and transparency among the rates. The less we talk, the less we compare experiences, the less we know. And, the less we know, the less equipped we are to ask or negotiate for fair rates and salaries.
Money talk isn’t dirty, it is necessary.
Hell, I’d share my rate right here in this blog post but then I’d have to remember to keep coming back and editing and updating.
Sure, we don’t have a union, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have a community. Share your intel, your insights, your experiences. Talk. Ask questions. Ask for help and help each other out.
The Chicago Copywriters Group circulated a new survey re: rates and salaries. Keep an eye out for the summary of that data soon.
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