Pay

Director pay rates have been frozen for the last 7 years - this means a pay cut in real terms.

For too long too much money has been spent on management and not enough has been invested in the creative people who make great programmes. For many directors, pay rates have effectively been frozen and this is now against a backdrop where broadcasters such as ITV are making record-breaking profits and Sky have hit over 12 million subscribers for the first time.

Directors are the creative leaders, responsible for steering productions with increasingly pressured schedules and budgets, embracing new working practices and technology, and acquiring increasingly specialist skills. But while the expectations of the director have increased the pay has not. Responsibility and seniority on set is no longer recognised through production pay structures and working conditions.

Context

  • Directors’ pay has been static or fallen over time
  • Directors’ pay has fallen in comparison with other senior grades
  • Directors’ pay has fallen in comparison with permanent staff
  • Directors work excessive hours without overtime
  • Holiday pay is not properly recognised
  • Expenses have been driven down or not paid at all (particularly for directors living in the Nations and Regions)
  • Directors as freelancers are not able to obtain work for 52 weeks of the year

Aim

To achieve fair pay for UK directors working in television across all specialisms, genre and employer groups.

Evidence 

Directors UK is campaigning for better pay across every genre and in order to do this effectively we needed to build a fuller and more accurate picture of what directors are currently being paid. This is not something we have done before and the pay survey we launched in early summer has provided valuable insight on how genre, type of programme, location and broadcaster/indie can affect pay rate ranges. 

Our Pay campaign can only be as strong as the information we receive from members, which is why we need as many members as possible to contribute and continue to complete the pay survey with each new job.

Pay Survey results

With Directors UK’s working membership at around 2,200, the 312 submissions we received have provided us with a strong sample of just under 15% of our members. 37% of responses were from drama directors, 51% factual directors, and 12% from multi-camera and entertainment directors. 

From the survey we have developed a clearer overview of pay levels across the genres, with many submissions covering what should be the better-paid, high-profile work:

  • 96% of respondents are principal, tier 1 directors
  • 83% of respondents were working on peak-time productions
  • Responses included a good spread of work across the broadcasters; just over half of submissions (54%) were for BBC commissions, with ITV and Channel 4 both at 12% and Channel 5 and Sky at 3%
  • The gender breakdown of responses was not dissimilar to our overall membership (30% women to 70% men)

For a detailed analysis of the first round of results members can read our report: It Pays to Know - The Real Picture on Directors Pay, or have a look at a short two-page summary.

But more evidence is needed... 

Pay Survey

If you haven’t already done so please submit details of projects you’ve worked on so we have a better understanding of your particular genre and what might be happening to your level of pay.

Directors UK Vice Chair Steve Smith has first-hand experience of how effective this approach has been in successfully campaigning for better pay for entertainment and multi-camera directors, and he urges all directors to keep on submitting information so we can push for better pay for every director across all genres:

“Having accurate up-to-date pay information from over 5000 directors will help us continue to campaign for better pay for all. It also gives us the information we need to demonstrate just how far directors pay has fallen behind when we enter negotiations with broadcasters and producers.

I would ask all members if you could take a few moments to complete this new on-line survey to help us help you get a better deal on pay.

TAKE THE SURVEY

Employer Advisor

With pay rates and working conditions so closely tied together we all know what a huge difference a good or bad experience can make and this is where Directors UK's Employer Advisor comes into its own. Employer Advisor is our version of Trip Advisor, where members can submit information about jobs they’ve had, the companies they’ve worked for and why they would (or wouldn’t) recommend them to you. But again this resource can only be as useful as you, our members make it, so please take the time to submit your experiences.

Next Steps

Each of Directors UK’s genre committees will hold an open meeting to discuss the results and give members a further opportunity to contribute to the discussion. The open meetings will help ensure that our campaigning on pay directly responds to the issues and concerns our members have identified. 

Entertainment and Multi-camera Rate Card

Directors UK has published its official rate card for directors of entertainment and multi-camera shows. The new minimum daily rate is £600 for all directors.

RECOMMENDED MINIMUM DAILY RATE FOR ENTERTAINMENT AND MULTI-CAMERA DIRECTORS

EFFECTIVE FROM 1ST OCTOBER 2014

  1. The recommended minimum daily rate for entertainment and multi-camera directors shall be £600 per day with effect from 1st October 2014.
  2. This rate is exclusive of holiday, which must be added to this rate if a director is unable to take any leave.
  3. The minimum rate for directors operating via a loan-out company is £665 per day, to compensate for the lack of holiday pay.
  4. A booking may be made for less than one full day e.g. half a day, but the minimum rate is still £600.
  5. This rate applies to productions in the following genres:
    • Awards
    • Broken comedy and sketch shows
    • Celebrity panel and quiz shows
    • Chat shows
    • Comedy stand up performances
    • Music performances
    • Game shows
    • Major “shiny floor” entertainment
    • Multi-camera studio factual programmes, e.g. cookery shows
  6. On productions where the current director’s rate is significantly below the new minimum rate and where the transition to the new daily rate may be difficult to achieve immediately, the production companies and directors concerned are advised to contact Directors UK for further advice and assistance.

Like this campaign?

Have Your Say

Andy De Emmony
27.10.15

If I understood the results of the pay survey correctly. At best the average salary is £2000 per week. On average we worked 23 weeks a year, which gives our British guild/collective an average salary of £46,000 per year. Middle management. I'd love to know how this compares to similar American guild member (96% tier 1) average salary. Our work plays in similar markets all over the world why is there a disparity? In this tax break era we are in a golden age of television, but we have had no increases for 7 years but arguably work harder dealing with bigger production budgets? Andy