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Sound technician, broadcasting/film/video: Salary and conditions

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  • Typical starting salary: £16,000 - £18,000 in an established studio or in television and radio.
  • Typical salary with experience, e.g. after ten years in the role: £30,000 - £35,000. These wages are often supplemented with unpredictability or unsocial hour allowances.
  • Freelance sound technicians can earn £230 - £500 per (ten hour) day. The Broadcasting Entertainment Cinematograph and Theatre Union (BECTU) publishes a set of guidelines on rates of pay for freelancers.
  • Sound technicians frequently have to work long days and unsocial hours (the average working day is ten hours) including evenings, nights and weekends. They often need to adopt flexible working patterns in order to work on breaking stories, to tight deadlines or to ensure that the creative process is not interrupted.
  • Working in multiple locations is often required. These can include recording studios, film or television sets or on location.
  • Many sound technicians are freelancers and work on fixed-term contracts for broadcasting or production companies. Like other freelancers, sound technicians often face uncertainty around their employment.
  • The broadcasting industry offers a higher percentage of salaried posts. However, large employers, such as the BBC often take on freelancers to cover peak periods of work.
  • 11% of employees in the sound industry are female (Skillset Employment Census ). The Broadcasting and Creative Industries Disability Network (BCIDN) and Creative Diversity Network are both working to improve the diversity of the industry's workforce.
  • Sound technicians of all types are often required to work in highly stressful situations and to tight deadlines. Stamina, self-motivation and patience are therefore essential attributes for this job.
  • The job can involve extensive travel and long periods away from home, especially in the field of motion picture production.

Salary figures are intended as a guide only.

Written by AGCAS editors
April 2013

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