Thursday, August 22, 2013

Average EA Salaries: Are They Really That Bad?

Hey Edsters,

Let’s talk about this money issue for a hot second. I’m so glad that Ed chose to publish an article about it, because I really had no idea what the typical EA salary was, besides, well, the bare minimum.

Thank you, Ed, for defining the bare minimum. The line that struck me the most in the article was that some temp EA’s get paid the legal minimum wage (lower than any Starbucks worker I know!), followed up by the slightly less shocking fact that Condé Nast brings up the rear in average EA salaries with a piddly $27,500.

The article goes on to mention some sort of taboo about sharing salaries. What taboo? Who wouldn’t want to share and compare their salaries with their fellow workers? I went back and reread the article about a week after it was published, expecting the Ed-sphere to be BLOWING UP with commentary about all this.

I checked Ed’s salary board. It still the same companies listed that have been there since I started reading the site in 2010, I swear. I checked the Facebook posting. There were two comments: A girl tagging one of her friends, and another girl whose entire comment consisted of “No.” I’m still trying to decipher what that means.

After those dismal findings, I decided that I needed to take matters into my own hands. As work came to a close last Friday evening, I leaned over to my editor, all casual and whatnot, and was like “Hey girl. So, how much are they paying you here?”

She smiled and straight up said “$50,000,” because she’s real cool like that. But then again, if I was getting paid fifty grand when the average was half that, I’d probably easily share too.

Then, I tallied up my expenses for the entire summer. By the time this is published, I’ll have been in NYC for a solid three months. In those three months, I spent $2,750, which includes rent, food, my MetroCard, money given to homeless people—everything. I then divided that by the number of days I was here (I was lazy and just guesstimated 90 because it’s like three months and close enough, okay?)

As it turns out, that’s $30 per day. And then in another fancy bit of footwork, I divided $27,500 by 364 and came up with $75. Wait a minute. That’s DOUBLE what I’ve been living on for the past three months! That’s practically royalty!

Just like that, I breathed a deep sigh of relief and went to bed with a clear head. True, $27,500 is pennies compared to what our graduated friends in other fields will be raking in. But it’s not impossible to live on, and people move out of that pay range relatively fast within this industry. Besides, NYC on $30 a day was all kinds of crazy fun, so on $75 a day? I can only imagine.

What has your budget been like this summer? Do you think NYC is doable on a $27,500 salary? Speak your mind below.

Until next week,

Ed’s Entertainment Intern


  1. ...that isn't taking taxes into account... the 27,5 is before any taxes

  2. Awesome post, but hold up—an EA is making $50,000? Or was your boss at a slightly higher level. Dying to know!

  3. Also--are you living in a dorm? Because that's subsidized housing. Rent in NYC is typically more expensive than $30 a day on it's own.

  4. Yeah - how are you able to pay such a low figure for rent in NYC? Please share - I've always avoided applying for jobs in NYC because I thought the cost of living would be just too impossible with my meager salary.

  5. It's a bit crazy but those salaries are before taxes, so the actual take-home is much less. People making 50k might seriously only bring in 30k or so after taxes (that's a very rough estimate). Even so, you're right that the salaries are not so bad everywhere - don't let anyone scare you. I've been working as a web editor for 3 years and I make more than some accountants I know - seriously. I'm proud to tell them I majored in journalism. :)

  6. Thanks for all these comments, guys! Here's some more thoughts/answers:

    1. Anonymous #1: Yikes, you're so right. Dang it.
    2. Anonymous #2: Sorry sorry I totally forgot to specify what type of editor she is! She's the EIC of the entertainment website I was working at, which sounds fancy but it's really not. The team consisted of her, two or three freelancers (who got paid $80—$150 per post), and then two interns (myself included). She's the only staff member on the website. However, the entertainment website is run by a brand, not a publishing company, which is where the pay difference really comes into play. She gets her paycheck through the marketing department, even though she pumps out editorial content and functions like a regular editor. I hope that makes sense—I wish I could just tell you the website but it has to remain anonymous :(
    3. Anonymous #3/Natalie: Nope, not a dorm! Found a roommate through a classified listing online. She was looking to share a one bedroom apartment waaay out in Queens (Briarwood). I lived in the relatively large living room for $550 a month. My commute was about an hour each day, but it was so worth it because I know I couldn't have afforded to live in NYC with a Manhattan rent figure. Just be willing to do some digging, the low rents are out there! I found mine through a church classified ad... Craigslist was freaking me out so I checked out some of the larger church websites (Redeemer Presbyterian, Trinity) because I heard they had classified sections. I would definitely recommend checking them out!
    4. Anonymous #4: Aw yay!! I can't wait to be where you're at someday soon :)