Saturday, 16 October 2010

Salaries for conductors

A question worth furtherdiscussion

Nearly two years ago, someone psudonymous ('Ikbje') asked the following on the Conductive Community Discussion Forum – 

I was wondering is anyone has an idea on how to find out what kind of a salary to offer for a conductor that would be starting at a new center.  I have no idea what to offer for a lead conductor or for  the second conductor. I also need any information on obtaining a visa for 2 conductors.  Is the center responsible for paying for the visa or is that included as part of the conductors offer of employment?  Any ideas?


A thread ensued. Douglas Long started –

Senior Conductor £32k
Conductor £28k
2 annual flights home pa, first months rent paid and set-up costs
GOOD LUCK !!  Above for good experienced Conductors

I commented –

As a general rule conductors' market position is to receive approximately the same salary as a teacher in a given country, of equivalent experience, hours and responsibility.
If for some reason you want  to offer more then that is up to you but do remember that higher pay may also attract attributes other  than higher quality and commitment. Caveat emptor! If you want to try offering less, then do so, remembering that this is a job market. In the final analysis it is the market that decides!
Remember too that there is no defined status of such conventionally stated ranks as 'lead conductor', 'senior conductor' 'second conductor' etc.  Again it will be up to you, perhaps in negoitiatiojn with an applicant, to define the experience or rage of responsibilities that might be required and agreed, and then fix the appropriate salary range accordingly. Again, too, local teaching salary scales will offer you some guidelines on this.
You will also of course have to consider such matters as annual increments or bonuses if you so wish, and for the purposes of your own budgeting, don't forget to cost in all necessary employers' costs from the outset, including taxation and insurance.
And don't be talked into illegal deals revolving round the selective understanding of double taxation arrangements!
As for visas, work permits, yellow cards etc, don't act illegally (like employing conductors who are in your country on visitors' permits). The conductors involved will just be deported, you may be left stuck at home to face the music from your immigration department, the taxation system and perhaps the criminal justice system as well!
As for who is responsible for paying such things as visas, then this is wholly a matter of personal and/or commercial judgement.
Just make sure that this, along with anything else relevant that has been mentioned here, and any other matters that are to do with money and/or mutual responsibilities between employer and employeer, are explicitly laid down and mutually understood, agreed and signed before you begin operations. Hours of working, holidays, accommodation and any 'perks' spring immediately to mind.
Some years ago I posted on the Internet a more detailed note about employing conductors. I tried to make this as internationally applicable as possible. Though almost certainly out of date now in some respects, most of it probably still applies. You can find this at:
I too am certainly also a little out of date on such matters, since, to my enormous relief, I have not been responsible for employing conductors, or anybody else, since 2004. I shall take the opportunity of mentioning your enquiry on Conductive World...
If you are in the United States and it is Hungarian conductors that you have in mind then you might also like to look at:
But do bear in mind what I wrote above staying on the right side of the law!

From Canada, Mhairi (Vari) Watson added a transatlantic view –

It is my understanding that you are looking to start a program in the US. Salaries vary depending on the exact location, the responsibilities of the job and the experience of the conductor. Information from friends and colleagues who work in the US indicate that the start salary for a junior or newly grauated conductor are in the ran.e of $42,000 - $47,000 USD per year. Senior/experienced staff can ask for much more. Most have their visa and immigration costs paid for them and a return flight from country of nationality. Usually a deal is made for either 1 or 2 months accommodation to be paid for/or provided. Vacation varies from program to program but is often around 5 weeks per year. Many staff in the US will also be asking for health care to be covered by the employer...
Hope this helps - good luck with your program

From the UK, Gábor Fellner –

With all the due respect; dream on.
In the UK if the conductor has a QTS (qualified teacher status) can be  employed based on the Teachers Pay Scale and conditions.(see Tes.co.uk) 28K for a beginner conductor is a bit high. More likely around 22K, but of course like anything else the salary is negotiable as well.

And Jules Rashleigh (as she then was) –

I realise this thread was not initally trying to incite discussion but i think it's really interesting that there is such variation in opinion and information about conductor salaries etc... not that it's a new topic but it highlights again the need for more structure and heirachy for conductors being employed at different levels.  

And Laszlo Szogetski –

I agree Jules but if you look at the therapists, they are in the same situation: NHS based therapists have a salary scale to follow but those on the free land have a very variable income. Same refers to teachers: government based salary is detectable but private can be very different from. 
It would be, however, very compelling to have some structure indeed.

These responses all within two or three weeks. Funny, people used to discuss things then. They do not seem to as much now.

I wonder whether 'Ikbji' came to a satisfactory personal conclusion. General questions raised here remain unresolved – and anyway, the world has moves on, and continues to do so.

Not least, more conductors are establishing their own practices and presumably have their own emerging perspectives.

Any comment can be posted below, or on the Forum:


A subsequent note on Conductive World


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