Are Australian radio employees being paid enough?
Radio Today has been contacted anonymously by a radio employee arguing for increased pay in an open letter to the industry.
Dear radio network executives,
I’m one of your many passionate employees that have worked in the industry for a while, and if I’m being honest, I’m a little over you taking advantage of us all…
Your producers, announcers, sales reps, engineers, the promo team, all of us, we are the people who drive your revenue and ratings targets, and help contribute to that sizable bonus you love talking about at staff drinks… Yes, you talk very loud after a few beers.
Let’s start off with how I am… I’m simply exhausted. To quote ABC’s Virginia Trioli ‘After another COVID summer, it’s only January 29 and I’ve never felt so tired’.
With most career opportunities comes a move, which means a huge life reset. I’ve had to leave my family behind, navigate around new cities, establish new friendships, find new routines, and build trust and reputation in a new team multiple times.
My peers and I all talk, and the common theme is – ‘you don’t need a pay rise, think about all the perks and experiences you’ll gain from this opportunity’.
With total respect, we see through the bullshit and it’s time to start paying up.
It’s 2022 and everything is expensive.
Let’s look at the facts… this is a breakdown of essential living costs in Sydney.
Let’s assume I’m on a $60,000 salary earning $938 a week. After paying basic life essentials I would be left with $293 a week, but before I can put any money into my savings, I also must consider the following expenses:
- Going to the doctor or seeing a psychologist,
- Insurance, petrol, and registration for the car,
- Clothes and cosmetics,
- Home internet/Netflix
- Socialising with my friends,
- And a barista-made coffee.
How bad does that look? Sure, you could remark and suggest I stop buying clothes, but have you considered we wouldn’t have anything to wear to work because you don’t supply us with a uniform?
We want to look and feel great for all the Instagram stories you make us do.
While we’re on the topic of money, I’ve also expressed numerous times in staff engagement surveys that you need to stop shoving the ASX results down our throats.
If companies are in such a healthy financial position, then why is there no money in the budget for a salary increase? I think it’s time to shift your priorities away from the shareholders and invest in your people.
It’s counterintuitive having senior members of staff train and develop the next generation of leaders just for all of us to walk away with the skills we’ve acquired. It’s a waste of time and resources. We deserve to earn a living wage that will enable us to live with dignity and to participate as active members of society.
Thanks for your time.
So, are Australian radio employees being paid enough?
“Radio station staff have their salaries set by a variety of awards which apply to different occupations or by negotiated contracts with their employer,” says Joan Warner CEO Commercial Radio Australia.
“Every worker is entitled to make a case that they are working to a higher level of responsibility or skill and deserve to move up the pay scale.
“The radio industry is no different from other industries in being subject to competitive market forces when seeking to hire and retain the best employees.
“CRA doesn’t have visibility on pay rates and can’t comment on individual cases.”
Non-award employees, including management employees, are covered by the National Minimum Wage and National Employment Standards.
Employees must be paid at least award pay rates and entitlements.
The Federal Minimum Wage has been set at $772.60 per week for a full-time employee.
Information on the various awards is available from Fair Work.
The Big Bucks
Meantime, Radio Today wrote in 2018 about some of the industry’s brightest stars earning significant amounts of money.
And not much has changed in 2022.
The standouts are Kyle and Jackie O, who earn a reported $5 million each a year.
But what about our anonymous letter writer who represents the largest proportion of radio industry employees – ‘those not on the big bucks’.
How does the cost of living differ across cities and regions? Let’s compare Melbourne in Victoria to Launceston in Tasmania on a monthly basis.
Source: Cost of Living in Launceston
Figures are based on a comparison of 64 cities.
In summary, the cost of living in Australia is $1942, which is 2.03 times more expensive than the world average. Australia ranked 11th out of 197 countries by the cost of living and the 2nd best country to live in.
The average salary after taxes in Australia is $3746, which is enough to cover living expenses for 1.9 months.
You can read here Australia’s cost of living over the last ten years.
How do they get ahead financially?
Let’s go back to the anonymous letter writer who has little opportunity to save. This means limited opportunity to improve lifestyle and, without a salary increase, this is likely to be the status quo moving forward.
Is it reasonable to expect ‘the perks and experiences you’ll gain from this opportunity’ are enough to compensate a higher wage?
I would argue no.