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Salary Survey
  1. 2021
  2. 2020
  3. 2019
  4. 2018
  5. 2017
  6. 2016

Average Years in the Industry


Salary vs Experience

Gender Nonconforming
Not Specified   *We did not collect gender information before 2018
  • 120
  • 110
  • 100
  • 90
  • 80
  • 70
  • 60
  • 50
  • 40
  • 30
  • 20
  • 10K
  • 0
  • 5 Yrs
  • 10
  • 15
  • 20
  • 25
  • 30

Average Yearly Income


Percentage of people that work 40 hours a week


Employer Benefits

Did you receive bonuses?


Are you compensated for overtime?

Does your employer provide health insurance?

Does your employer provide dental insurance?

Does your employer offer matching contributions for a retirement account?

Have you ever freelanced to supplement your salary?

Freelance Life

Do you contribute to a retirement account?


Were you employed full time in the industry before going freelance?

Do you work out of a home office?

Are most of your clients local to the Twin Cities?

Average Day Rate

Average Monthly Operating Costs

Local Industry Satisfaction

Job Satisfaction

Very Satisfied

More Than Satisfied


Partly Satisfied

Not At All Satisfied

COVID-19 Impact Report 2020

COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on employment in the United States. But, how has it affected employment within our local animation, vfx, motion graphics industry? Please keep in mind that this is a self-reported survey, and therefore may not reflect the entire picture of COVID-19's affect on our industry.

Of those who reported an impact related to the pandemic

Salaries among fulltime positions dropped by an average of while the average freelance income was unaffected.

Editor's Note: Admittedly, those numbers aren't nearly as bad as what I was expecting, although the lasting affects are hard to predict. Most staff members across experience levels report that they will not be receiving a cost-of-living increase this year or next. This may mean that salaries will be stagnate through 2021 and into 2022. Other impacts are harder to measure. Most people cite feeling an increased amount of stress, attributed to multiple factors. There is a fear of contracting the virus, and anxiety related to the state of politics in America. Some relate their stress to seeing their coworkers laid off or furloughed (they might be next). Many even say that deadlines have gotten much tighter. Wherever it's coming from, stress and anxiety have undoubtedly taken a toll on our community, and the affects of the pandemic will last beyond the end of 2020.

Notable quotes from survey respondents

"What used to be a busy trade show schedule has been replaced with an even more demanding virtual events schedule. Video is doing a lot of the heavy lifting in our customer communications. I guess we're lucky in that regard, but fighting off burn out under these conditions is incredibly difficult."

"Our clients are spending less which drives down the quality and quantity of work."

"The number of hours in meetings has skyrocketed to 2-3 times as many hours. This makes getting actual work done more difficult."

"It wasn't too bad, but there was a dip in new jobs for a bit."

"Well I had to switch from graphic design to marketing specialist position to avoid getting laid off. Two videographers got laid off at my workplace and they have not filled those positions."

"Be comfortable being uncomfortable. The people you work with have the same anxiety, pain, and desire to work as yourself. It's ok to be stressed, talk about it."

COVID-19 Impact Report 2021

COVID-19 variants, vaccines, and public safety policies have all come and gone and come again, but have jobs in our industry followed suit? Please keep in mind that this is a self-reported survey, and therefore may not reflect the entire picture of COVID-19's continuing affect on our industry.

Of those who reported an impact related to the pandemic

Editor's Note: Last year, I posited that the pandemic may lead to salary stagnation. Thankfully, I was wrong! The average fulltime salary actually increased by $5000. Additionally, many fulltimers reported that their benefits were slightly increased in order to make up for freezes and furloughs early in the year. The average freelancer income hasn't changed from 2020, but our limited freelance data makes it difficult to determine if that is related to the pandemic. Even though the majority of respondents have a mixed in-office/work-from-home experience, more people report a preference for working form home compared to last year. Will the hyrbid approach be the future?

Notable quotes from survey respondents

"Remote work is nice, but trying to efficiently use remote rendering tools to speed up production is not as fast as in office, so I find myself at the office a lot."

"Financially, I was not impacted, however, we proved that working from home is viable and the work/life balance was improved by having the option to work from home."

"In my own experience, once the initial economic fear of COVID passed, clients realized that video was more important, and actually we're doing a lot more video, although the quality of the video was lower: zoom records, all virtual meetings, etc."

"It has made work-from-home an obvious choice."

These are the results of self-reported surveys conducted and presented by Nice Moves.