Monday, June 25, 2018

Museums and Museum Groups -- STOP COVERING YOUR A*S!

Why don't ALL museum job ads have salary ranges included?  Why don't ALL Museum Groups that host museum job ads require salary ranges be included in those ads?  The museum profession talks a good game concerning gender pay equity, fair pay, and diversifying the museum workforce. But talk, as they say, is cheap.  I expect more, and better, from the museum world than high-minded platitudes, so I want Museums and Museum Groups to:


Back in October last year, I wrote a blog post over my dismay in finding many (but not all!) museum groups still allowing ads for unpaid internships and job postings without salary ranges to be publicized through their websites and publications. I contacted the leaders of AAM, AAASLH, and NEMA to find out why they are still "covering their ads" and either got no definitive response or got a list of excuses ranging from "not wanting to upset museum members" to the concern that if salary range requirements were instituted, that museums would take their job postings "elsewhere."

I'll state again that I expect more, and better, from the museum world than such weak responses, especially when requiring salary ranges on job postings is such a tiny, tiny difficult step toward resolving pay and diversity inequities in museums, compared to the REALLY HARD steps the museum profession says it wants to take toward a fairer and more representative museum workplace.

The good news is that there are museum organizations that do require that salary ranges be included in museum job ads, and for that, they should be recognized and congratulated. The New York City Museum Educators Roundtable (NYCMER) has such a requirement and the website Museum Jobs (a project of Museum Hack) also requires that every posting includes salary ranges.  Laura Huerta Migus, the Executive Director of the Association of Children's Museums (ACM) is also in the vanguard of museum groups by requiring salary ranges for job ad postings.  Laura was kind enough to share her thoughts with me on this subject and has graciously allowed me to quote her words here:

This is also a best practice that we’ve been adhering to for ACM’s own job postings since 2014. We don’t publish any job announcements without the actual salary range.  This has been a very important strategy, not just from an equity perspective, but also as an employer. In particular, it helps us understand if the job description (including skill requirements) matches the salary and if we need to reconsider the job description and/or minimum required skills. This has happened more than once over the past four years that I have been at ACM. For example, for our communications manager listing, we worked from the existing job description and published the salary and the respondent pool was all over the map, from new college grads to seasoned communications professionals who were seeking to take this position as a contract for their personal business. This wide spectrum of responses told us two things: 1) the salary was not high enough to attract the mid-level professional we were looking for, and 2) the job description did not have the right balance of responsibilities to appeal to the kind of candidate that we needed. So, we took down the job description, rewrote it, adjusted the salary, and reposted. The result is that we got a great (and diverse) candidate pool with the level of experience that we were looking for, and ultimately made a great hire. That said, we do have work to do to sustain a strong staff and be a competitive employer, but it is work we are making progress on for sure!

So why make such a big deal about a (seemingly) small thing like salary ranges on museum job ads?  I'll stop here and refer you to the influential "Nonprofit AF" blog and a post by Vu Le about what he calls "Salary Cloaking." Le outlines many reasons why not posting salary ranges is just plain bad business for non-profits, but let me just pick out a few of his salient points:

• It wastes everyone’s time

• It perpetuates the gender wage gap

• It starts a relationship off on a lack of trust and transparency

I really believe the museum world can do better than this, so I am going to contact (again!) the leaders of the large national museum groups that are lagging behind in requiring that salary ranges be included on museum job ad postings.  I'm going to send them a link to this blog post and ask them (again!) to change their policies and procedures and STOP COVERING THEIR ADS! 

I hope you will take a minute to contact the folks below and the leaders of other museum organizations you are associated with to let them know what you think.


American Alliance of Museums (AAM):  Laura Lott

American Association for State and Local History (AASLH): John Dichtl

New England Museum Association (NEMA): Dan Yaeger

Let's resolve this one small issue AND start tackling some of those bigger employment issues in the museum world!

Don't miss out on any ExhibiTricks posts! It's easy to get updates via email or your favorite news reader. Just click the "Sign up for Free ExhibiTricks Blog Updates" link on the upper right side of the blog.

P.S. If you receive ExhibiTricks via email (or Facebook or LinkedIn) you will need to click HERE to go to the main ExhibiTricks page to make comments or view multimedia features (like videos!)

No comments:

Post a Comment