After Hollywood assistants took a stand in 2019, saying they had been now not content material to work lengthy hours for low pay beneath ceaselessly troublesome and abusive situations to be able to get a foot within the door, the grass-roots group #PayUpHollywood started gathering information to get an understanding of the problems assistants face as a foundation for leveraging that data to make systemic change.
Three years later, the group has launched its newest annual survey and finds that little has modified. Assistants proceed to battle for earnings parity whereas shouldering out-of-pocket bills and discover themselves shortchanged on a number of points, the group discovered.
It carried out a survey of 523 present and former assistants working at studios, expertise companies and manufacturing and improvement firms between Nov. 16, 2021, and Jan. 1.
Among the many key takeaways: 91.05% of the respondents reported making lower than $50,000 in 2021, up from 79.1% in 2020 who reported earnings in that very same vary.
As incomes stagnated, housing prices continued to eclipse the earnings of most assistants, who battle to pay hire: 44.2% mentioned they acquired monetary help from household and others, up from 37.5% the earlier yr, in keeping with #PayUpHollywood.
Among the many survey’s different findings: 49.03% mentioned they had been pressured to change timecards to “save manufacturing firms from having to pay time beyond regulation or further hours labored.”
“This can be a main labor violation,” mentioned Liz Alper, a author and co-founder of #PayUpHollywood. “It’s one thing common to the leisure business.”
Moreover, about 64% of assistants mentioned they weren’t reimbursed for work bills comparable to pc gear, workplace provides, Zoom subscriptions and transportation, up from over 50% as reported within the 2020 survey.
The survey additionally discovered that assistants are nonetheless anticipated to carry out quite a lot of menial duties, together with doing private errands each throughout and outdoors of labor hours, cooking and selecting up mail and laundry for his or her bosses; some even reported being deployed for youngster care duties.
#PayUpHollywood’s most up-to-date survey comes at a time of main upheaval within the business together with the aftershocks of COVID-19, the rise of and competitors amongst streamers, studio consolidation (WarnerMedia has pledged to chop $3 billion in bills) and intermittent layoffs.
For Alper, nonetheless, the survey displays the standard caste system at work in Hollywood, with assistants considered as replaceable and the primary staff to be reduce. However help workers, not merely entry-level jobs, are the sorts of positions that create pipelines into each main department of the business.
“There are such a lot of studies that we’ve acquired of individuals attempting to ask for 25-cent and 50-cent raises however are shut down and informed to strap down and do their half,” Alper mentioned. “It’s all excuses.”
In the meantime, Alper added, the hole between assistants’ pay and the multimillion-dollar pay packages given to prime studio and media executives continues to widen.
“It exhibits that there’s cash, it’s simply not going to the individuals who want it,” Alper mentioned.
Kirsten Schaffer, the chief govt of Girls in Movie, an advocacy group, mentioned the report’s findings present “there must be a shift in the best way we consider coordinators and assistants, as an alternative of pondering of them as folks we’re working via, however as constructing the following technology of staff and making certain they’re making a residing wage and keep within the business.”
Girls in Movie just lately agreed to sponsor #PayUpHollywood, permitting the group to function as a nonprofit and lift funds.
The association will allow #PayUpHollywood to develop and “begin to usher in extra of a assume tank side to deal with numerous the problems that assistants face,” Alper mentioned.
Schaffer sees this as a pure alliance, stating that 66% of the survey’s contributors determine as feminine.
“This connects to the type of wider work round pay parity,” she mentioned. “Different studies which have come out present that the best variety of ladies work in fields with decrease pay, whereas conversely within the increased earnings brackets, there are fewer ladies. That is a part of that story.”