textile museum of canada

Toronto museum faces backlash over job posting with salary people say is far too low

A small museum in Toronto has become the unexpected target of public outrage this week after posting what staff thought was a completely benignly standard job posting for a new head of marketing.

Unfortunately, in part due to what the executive director says was a typo in the original ad from the Textile Museum of Canada, people seem to feel that as interesting as the opening sounds, the salary is unimpressive, to say the least.

The position comes with an annual pay of $45,000, originally stated erroneously to be $40,000, which is what the position previously paid; neither figure, for those in the arts, is likely (and sadly) all that shocking.

But those on social media are vehemently disagreeing with the number given the described duties for the full-time permanent gig, which include "establishing the museum as a leading national institution while supporting all teams," and "taking the reins of the strategy and success of the marketing and communications department."

"That salary is for a part-time student position, not a full-time position.... Textile Museum of Canada, you need to be better than this," one person commented on an Instagram post advertising the position to the institution's 18.8k followers.

"Disappointed to see yet another marketing job posting that vastly undervalues what is being asked for," another chimed in. "You have listed off at least four separate jobs in one role and are offering half of what the salary should be."

One even went as far as calling the ad "predatory" with a salary better suited to a junior designer, not the leader of a department.

But for those who aren't aware, museums function off of arts funding from the government, which is tragically meagre, especially lately.

"I'm not going to shy away from the fact that we know that salaries are low at the museum, as they broadly are in the arts and cultural sector... that's kind of the reality that we're all faced with," says museum director and CEO Emma Quin, adding that the establishment has been actively working to increase compensation, among other things.

Quin says the current salary offer is actually a 12.5 per cent increase from the job previously paid, and is also part of the museum's efforts to have more secure, permanent positions rather than only being able to offer part-time or temporary work.

There is also much job flexibility as far as time off, ample professional development opportunities, and other perks that Quin has tried to offer in light of the fact that she says the museum just isn't able to provide higher salaries based on current funds and resources.

According to its website, the museum relies on donations for 75% of its annual funding.

There is also the fact that despite being of national standing, the museum is staffed by about 10 people, one in each department.

"I think some of the backlash comes from reading 'museum' and thinking that we're a $10-million budgeted organization with a huge staff.... Our overall marketing spend is $25,000," Quinn says, putting things into context.

"We were also really careful to put in there that we're not seeking years of experience or senior-level or education credentials, we're really looking for someone to bring their lived experience and own style."

And despite the negative attention, the museum says it has already gotten a ton of applicants.

Hopefully, if anything, the incident can draw attention to the often fairly dire funding situation for arts institutions like this one.

Lead photo by

Icy/Google


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