For aspiring sound technicians who are fresh out of school or for those considering a career in sound engineering the question of salary and how much they can expect to earn in the audio field is often a complicated one to address. If you are starting out in the industry you may be asking yourself how much you can expect to charge for your first contracts. As we will see, how much you can charge depends on what part of the sound industry you are involved in and where, geographically, you are located. I went through a variety of publicly accessible official government statistics for the province of Québec and will share with you the results of my findings. I hope this will help you plan a career in the sound industry wisely. Also, putting the question of salary in context can help you get a better perspective of this fascinating industry. Today we look at the “audio and video recording technicians”, one of the two categories that most sound technicians fall into.
Audio and Video Recording Technicians
According to Emploi Quebec, there were 2900 ‘techniciens en enregistrement audio et vidéo’ (or Audio and Video Recording Technicians, the equivalent of the Audio and Video Equipment Technicians job title in the USA) in Québec in 2013. Service Canada has another quite different statistic: according to their Statistics Canada Labour Force Survey they estimate an average of just under 4000 audio and video recording technicians between the years 2010 and 2012. The 2006 census data says 55% of audio and video recording technicians worked in motion picture and sound recording industries, 16% of them worked in radio and television broadcasting, 5% in performing arts and another 5% in education. According to Statistics Canada’s National Household Survey of 2011, 32% of audio and video recording technicians work in motion picture and sound recording industries, about 17% of them work in broadcasting, 10% in educational services and 9% in live events (performing arts, sports, etc…).
Emploi Quebec says the growth was about 1% annually for that job between 2006 and 2011. This seems to be confirmed by Service Canada who predicts that the number of audio and video recording technicians will increase “slightly” in future years. These predictions are consistent with statistics from the US. More precisely, Service Canada feels that every year between 2013 and 2017 Québec will need an additional 60 of these technicians. In 2013, still according to information published by Emploi Quebec, the number of ‘techniciens en enregistrement audio et vidéo’ increased by 600 (they were 2300 in 2011), a growth of about 4,7% annually for that job between 2008 and 2013. In 2014 the Government of Canada felt there were limited job prospects for this occupation, however they attribute future job opportunities in this field to four sources:
- employment increase: as the economy grows so do the jobs
- replacement of retiring technicians: according to 2006 census data only 5% of audio and video recording technicians are over the age of 55 whereas 15% of those working in other occupations are over 55. Older technicians either retire early or change jobs. This means younger technicians do not have to wait until the older techs are 65 to take their jobs!
- staff turnover: in the audio world there is a rotation of technicians depending on the seasons, the studio’s needs and the availability of technicians. With a high rotation it is easier for a newcomer to find a spot.
- promotions: an audio and video recording technician with experience can be promoted to positions like technical director, director, assistant director, artist’s agents or promoters for example. These promotions make room for those that are starting out in the field.
Emploi Quebec has some weekly salary statistics for these audio and video technicians. To stay consistent with other US statistics I will be covering in the future, I converted them to yearly salaries based on a 52 week work-year, however the figures are in Canadian dollars. In 2011 in Quebec these technicians earned an average salary of 52,500$ with a median salary above 59,000$. According to Emploi Québec in 2013 in Quebec these technicians earned an average salary of 49,000$ with a median salary of 52,000$.
Service Canada says that in 2005 only about 47% of the audio and video recording technicians worked full time and all year round with an average yearly income of just under $39,000. The others who did not work full time and full year had an average salary of about $25,500. In 2011, according to Statistics Canada’s National Household Survey, 50% of all audio and video recording technicians worked full-time and full-year, 5% less than all occupations put together. The same survey tells us that 81% of these audio and video technicians work full-time (but not necessarily all year round) which is the same percentage as in other occupations.
Statistics Canada’s National Household Survey shows that audio and video recording technicians make about as much money as employees in other occupations. The numbers are pretty close but are to the advantage of audio and video recording technicians: fewer technicians (11%) make under $20,000 than employees in all occupations (13%) and more technicians (41%) make over $50,000 than employees in all occupations (39%).
Audio and video recording technicians are predominantly male with only 20% of jobs held by females (according to the 2006 census data). Statistics Canada’s 2011 National Household Survey says only 16% of audio and video recording technicians are women. These technicians tend to be relatively young as only about 25% of them are over 45 years old. In other occupations 41% of employees are over 45 years old. This survey reveals that 81% of audio and video recording technicians work full-time which is the same average for all occupations. The level of schooling does not have to be high for these technicians as over 63% of them have done post-secondary studies and only just over 18% of them have a bachelor’s degree.
Where are the jobs in Quebec?
According to Statistics Canada there is a higher concentration of audio and video recording technicians in Montreal than in any other region in Quebec: in 2011 about 48% of these techs worked in Montreal whereas Montreal represents only 23% of jobs in Quebec when all occupations are considered. The Montérégie region is second largest employer with about 19% of technicians working there. The Montérégie region represents about 19% of the all jobs in Quebec anyway. Québec city employs just under 8% of audio and video recording technicians, then comes the Laval region and the Mauricie region with about 4% each. The Laurentides region and the Outaouais region each represent 3.7% of audio and video recording technician jobs.
Next time we’ll look at “live” jobs and the other category that most sound technicians fall into: “broadcast technicians”.
Questions and comments: email@example.com