Salary guidelines

Low pay is widely recognised as a major problem for the sector. Museum pay is falling behind that of comparable sectors, and is barely keeping up with the cost of living.

To address this issue the MA produced revised salary guidelines in 2009, drawing on its a 2004 report into pay in the sector. The MA will be revising these guidelines again shortly.

The guidelines are intended as a practical document to be used when setting starting salaries for museums posts. They can also be used as an advocacy tool to raise the issue of pay with employers and funding bodies.

A number of sector organisations have voiced their support for the guidelines, including the Heritage Lottery Fund, National Museum Directors' Conference, Museums Libraries and Archives Council and the Association for Independent Museums.

Carole Souter, Director of the Heritage Lottery Fund, said: 'The MA salary guidelines will be of immediate practical help to everyone in museums and galleries planning new posts within a capital or activity project.'

The guidelines include suggested salaries for a range of museum posts, and comparisons of salaries of similar posts in related sectors. They seek to raise awareness of the issues surrounding pay within museums and generally improve levels of pay within the sector.

They are intended to be of use to all UK museums, whether large nationals with over 500 staff or small independents with one paid member of staff. Regardless of the type of museum or job title, it is knowledge, experience and most importantly responsibilities that should determine salaries.

The MA's work on pay began with the Pay in Museums report in 2004, continued with draft salary guidelines in 2005, and progressed to salary guidelines 2006, 2007 and 2009.

The MA welcomes comments, particularly from those who have used the document as an advocacy tool or as a practical guide for setting salaries.

Please email with any queries:


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Charlotte Pratley
Director, Culture Syndicates CIC
07.09.2016, 17:54
Are there any plans to update the guidelines? The jobs market has changed dramatically since 2009 but I can imagine it is a huge undertaking to gather the data, and not a straight forward issue to report on.
Alistair Brown
Policy Officer, Museums Association
12.09.2016, 09:39
Hi Charlotte,
We will be conducting a salary survey over the course of the winter and publishing new guidelines in 2017 - they should be really useful for the sector.