Producers and directors
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Overview
Producers and directors create motion pictures, television shows, live theater, commercials, and other performing arts productions. They interpret a writer’s script to entertain or inform an audience.
Predicted employment growth
Over the next decade, jobs for producers and directors are expected to grow by 12%, and should have about 14,700 job openings a year.
Safety from automation
Producers and directors are less likely to be automated than 87% of other careers.
Workforce size
Producers and directors, with 134,700 workers, form a larger workforce than 71% of careers.
Education
About 75% of producers and directors have at least a bachelor's degree.
Education attained by producers and directors
High School
Some College
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Doctorate
Context: workers with bachelor's degrees
More producers and directors have bachelor's degrees than 83% of other careeers.
Salaries
The median (middle) salary for producers and directors is higher than 79% of all other jobs' middle salaries. The graph shows inflation-adjusted salaries for most producers and directors.
This job's median $72KAll jobs' median $39K$74K$38K20142015201620172018$0$50K$100K$150K$200K$250K
Context: Median Salary
Gender
Women account for 37% of producers and directors -- that's a larger percentage than 51% of other jobs.
Gender of producers and directors
Men
Women
Context: Salary inequity
For each career, we compared the median (middle) men's salary to the median women's salary. For producers and directors, the median men's salary was 9% more the median woman's salary.
Race/Origin
About 15% of producers and directors are minority, and 11% are foreign-born.
Race/origin of producers and directors
White
Black
Pacific Islander
Hispanic
Asian
American Indian
Multiracial
Other
Context: Foreign-born workers (11%)
Where are the most jobs?
We ranked the number of jobs in Producers and Directors per thousand workers in each state, DC, and Puerto Rico. The darker the blue, the higher the job density.
AKMEVTNHWAIDMTNDMNMINYMARIORUTWYSDIAWIINOHPANJCTCANVCONEMOILKYWVVAMDDEAZNMKSARTNNCSCDCOKLAMSALGAHITXFLPR
Job benefits
Employer or union-sponsored pension plans are offered to 48% of producers and directors, and 68% have company-sponsored health insurance (17% have dependents enrolled in their employer's health plan).
Employer-provided health coverage for producers and directors
100% premiums covered
Partial premiums covered
Plan with no cost sharing
No health insurance
Top college degrees
Here are the top college degrees held by the 76% of people in this job who have at least a bachelor's degree. Some of degrees may link to multiple programs due to the way Census classifies college majors. Click on a program to learn more about career opportunities for people who major in that field.
The downside
Some jobs are more stressful than others, and some are just plain dangerous. The following list gives the percentages of producers and directors who report hazardous or difficult situations typically occurring at least once a week.
  • Time Pressure (82%)
  • Frequency of Conflict Situations (54%)
  • Responsible for Others' Health and Safety (33%)
SOURCES:24.0 O*NET
Salary and diversity
Salary overview
What do producers and directors earn?

In this section, we want to give you a clear idea of what you can expect to earn in this career. We use two sources of data here: the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which asks employers to classify their workforce and to report salaries using the SOC-specialty level of reporting, and the American Community Survey (ACS), which asks people to classify their jobs using the broad classifications that ididio uses for career profiles, and to self-report their salaries. For some jobs, the differences in survey approaches between BLS and ACS can paint a very different end-picture. Whenever possible, we provide data from both sources.

The BLS-compiled salary data is reported by companies for their employees. This data excludes self-employed workers. We first show the distribution of salaries for producers and directors, and then we show how the middle (median) salary for producers and directors compares to the BLS-computed median salaries of other careers.
Distribution: Salaries for producers and directors (BLS Salary Data)
$72K$0$50K$100K$150K$200K
Context: Median salaries across careers (BLS Salary Data)
$72K$0$50K$100K$150K$200K
We compiled household data from the ACS to determine the salaries that people working at least 35 hours a week report themselves to earn. Unlike the BLS estimates, this data includes self-employed wages. We first show the full salary distribution for all producers and directors, and then we show how the median (middle) salary for producers and directors compares to the median ACS-reported salary of other careers.
Distribution: Salaries for producers and directors (ACS Salary Data)
$60K$0$50K$100K$150K$200K
Context: Median salaries across careers (ACS Salary Data)
$60K$0$50K$100K$150K$200K
Employers and salary
A look at employers and corresponding salaries
The donut shares the break-down of workers by employer type, and following we show the salary distributions for these workers based on those employer types. For some careers, the salaries can be vastly different between private, government, and self-employment. As with our salary overview, we view the both the BLS economists' salary profiles and the household-reported salaries from ACS to get a thorough understanding of where producers and directors work and for what salary. We have the great faith in the accuracy of economist-vetted BLS data; however, the BLS restrictions on which employers are surveyed skews the data a bit (read more in the sources), and the ACS responses provide different and useful categorizations of employers and salaries.
Employers of Producers and directors (ACS)
Private for-profit (64.2%)
Private not-for-profit (11.1%)
Local government (1.3%)
State government (2.9%)
Federal government (0.9%)
Self-employed incorporated (9.8%)
Self-employed not incorporated (9.9%)
Working without pay (0.0%)
Distribution: Salaries of producers and directors by type of employer (ACS data)
Following are the salary distributions by employer type calculated by aggregating individual household survey responses.
$60K$46K$63K$58K$52K$53K$63K$113K$0$50,000$100,000$150,000Self-employed not incorporatedSelf-employed incorporatedFederal governmentState governmentLocal governmentPrivate not-for-profitPrivate for-profitAll
Distribution: Salaries of producers and directors by type of employer (BLS data)
Following are the salary distributions by employer type as reported by BLS based on large employer-focused surveys. We note that smaller employer categories are not included by BLS.
$72K$92K$61K$72K$58K$0$50,000$100,000$150,000$200,000Federal governmentState governmentLocal governmentPrivateAll
Age and career advancement
Salary growth for producers and directors

The biggest take-away from the following two charts is the relationship between salary and experience that we can infer from age. Does this job seem to attract especially younger or older workers? Does it reward experience?

Take a minute a look at how much you might expect your salary to increase with each five years' experience, as well as how the numbers working in this career changes. We only provide this data when there are enough consistent ACS survey responses to allow a reasonable margin of error, so for some careers you will see gaps in our reporting of salary by age.

$71K$56K$78K$67K$45K$30K$74K$73K$75K$0$50K$100K$150K$200KSalary distribution20-2425-2930-3435-3940-4445-4950-5455-5960-64
05K10K15K20K25KNumber employed20-2425-2930-3435-3940-4445-4950-5455-5960-64

Our only sources for career data containing age, gender, or origin/race come from the Census Bureau. To provide these breakdowns, we have aggregated ACS person-level career survey responses by career, gender, race, and age. These graphics reflect the results of our aggregations, and are useful for identifying trends. A careful statistical study of the impact of age, gender, and race on salaries would correct for other factors that could be contributing to salary differences.

Gender and Equity
Producers and directors and gender

With 37% women, this occupation has a higher percentage of women than 51% of careers.

Context: Women in the workforce
37%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Gender of Producers and directors
Men (63%)
Women (37%)
Distribution: Salaries by gender

As we'll illustrate at the bottom of this section, the median salary for all full-time male workers in the US exceeds the full-time median salary for women by 20%. The situation is a little better for producers and directors, with the median salary for men 9% higher than the median salary for women. This chart shows you the salary range for most workers by gender.

$57K$62K$0$50K$100K$150KWomenMen
Context: Salary Inequity

Nationwide there are twenty careers for which men do not have a higher median (middle) salary than women. The chart below shows the salary inequity, the percentage by which the median men's salary is higher than the median women's salary, for most jobs. Producers and directors have one of the smaller percentage increases for men's salary, with the increase the men's median salary over the women's median salary in this job lower than that for 75% of other jobs.

9%0%20%40%60%80%100%

Our only sources for career data containing age, gender, or origin/race come from the Census Bureau. To provide these breakdowns, we have aggregated ACS person-level career survey responses by career, gender, race, and age. These graphics reflect the results of our aggregations, and are useful for identifying trends. A careful statistical study of the impact of age, gender, and race on salaries would correct for other factors that could be contributing to salary differences.

Race/Origin
Race and origin of producers and directors

The representation of minority and foreign-born workers is quite different between careers, and the relative pay of those workers also varies significantly between careers. There is a smaller percentage of minority producers and directors than for 71% of other careers. As with minority workers, there is also a smaller percentage of foreign-born workers in this career than in most other careers.

Race/origin of producers and directors
White (83% )
Black (7% )
Asian (4% )
Multiracial (3% )
Other (2% )
Hispanic (1% )
American Indian (0% )
Pacific Islander (0% )
Context: Representation of minorities in the workforce
15%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Context: Representation of foreign-born workers
11%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Distribution: Salaries for producers and directors by race/origin

For some careers, there is a pay disparity depending on race or origin, though this is not prevalent. We calculate standard errors for all of our calculations, and when the error is high we do not show results. Therefore, for some jobs will have omitted race/origin categories.

$52K$52K$57K$58K$62K$0$50K$100K$150KOtherBlackMultiracialAsianWhite
Distribution: Salaries for producers and directors by nativity
$60K$62K$0$50K$100K$150KAll native citizensAll foreign-born

Our only sources for career data containing age, gender, or origin/race come from the Census Bureau. To provide these breakdowns, we have aggregated ACS person-level career survey responses by career, gender, race, and age. These graphics reflect the results of our aggregations, and are useful for identifying trends. A careful statistical study of the impact of age, gender, and race on salaries would correct for other factors that could be contributing to salary differences.

Pathways to this career
Education requirements and salary
Education attained by producers and directors

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), producers and directors typically hold a bachelor's degree.

Sometimes the typical education identified by the BLS differs a bit from the reality of the how much education current workers actually have. The donut shows the education level held by people currently working as producers and directors as reported in responses to the American Community Survey. Following, we investigate whether education level influences salary for producers and directors.

Education attained by producers and directors
None
High School
Some College
Associate's Degree
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Professional Deg/Doct
Doctorate
Details: Education and training recommended for producers and directors

Producers and directors usually have a bachelor’s degree. Many students study film or cinema in programs at colleges and universities. In these programs, students learn about film history, editing, screenwriting, cinematography, and the filmmaking process. As of 2017, the National Association of Schools of Theatre provided accreditation to more than 180 postsecondary institutions for their programs in theater arts.

Others producers and directors have degrees in writing, acting, journalism, or communications. Some producers earn a degree in business, arts management, or nonprofit management.

Many stage directors complete a degree in theater, and some go on to earn a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree. Classes may include directing, playwriting, set design, and acting.

Distribution: Salary by education level

What level of education is truly needed for producers and directors? Below we see the distribution of producers and directors salaries based on the education attained. These comparisons are based on all survey responses by those who identified themselves as producers and directors, and are not intended as a statistical analysis of salary differences that would correct for non-educational factors that could contribute to high or low earnings.

$50K$52K$53K$61K$68K$74K$88K$0$50K$100K$150K$200KHigh School (5%)Some College (13%)Associate's Degree (6%)Bachelor's Degree (60%)Master's Degree (13%)Professional Deg/Doct (1%)Doctorate (1%)
Bachelor's degree pathways
College majors held by producers and directors

This table shows the college majors held by people working as producers and directors. Select any degree to see detailed information. We are able to connect careers to degrees using the American Community Survey (ACS), and their degrees are defined a little differently from our programs, which are based on standard CIP classifications. Therefore, selecting some degrees will lead to a selection of CIP-level programs from which to choose.

If you see "**" before the name of a degree/program, that means this field is one that the Department of Education believes is preparatory for this career. However, you can see from this list that those recommendations are far from your only path to this job!

Degree
Select any title to learn more about that degree
Percentage of Producers and directors with this degree
Salary for all majors
Salary distribution (across jobs). Showing 0-$200,000.
Median
Middle 50%
Middle 80%
Education
Final education level of all people with this major
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Doctorate
Gender
Gender of people this bachelor's degree
Men
Women
The link between degrees and careers
The link between degrees and careers

With the following "sankey" diagram, you can follow the top ten bachelor's degrees held by people working as producers and directors, and then, in turn, you can see the 10 occupations that hire the most of each degree's graduates. This visualization links fields of studies and careers, suggesting both similar careers and options for degrees. The full list of bachelor's degrees held by producers and directors given in the previous section reminds us that there are many paths to these careers beyond what we can summarize here.

This job
Top 10 majors
Each major's top ten jobs
Managers (specialized areas)Marketing and sales managersElementary and middle school teachersWholesale and manufacturing sales representativesCustomer service representativesHuman resources workersSecretaries and administrative assistantsFirst-line supervisors of retail sales workersLawyers, judges, and magistratesRetail salespersonsNews analysts, reporters and correspondentsEditorsWriters and authorsPublic Relations SpecialistsProducers and directorsChief executives and legislatorsPhotographersTelevision, video, and motion picture camera operators and editorsDesignersPostsecondary teachersActorsSecondary school teachersWaiters and waitressesEducation administratorsArtists and related workersAccountants and auditorsFinancial managersFirst-line supervisors of non-retail sales workersManagement analystsCounselorsSocial workersPsychologistsPhysicians and surgeonsCommunicationsJournalismFilm Video andPhotographic ArtsMass MediaDrama and Theater ArtsEnglish Language andLiteratureFine ArtsBusiness Management andAdministrationPolitical Science andGovernmentPsychologyAll other degrees
Switching Careers
Most common new jobs
The most common next careers for producers and directors

What jobs will most producers and directors hold next year?

The data in this chart comes from person interviews for the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey. The survey interviews households eight times over a two-year period, allowing us a glimpse into how people move from job to job. You can see more details from the results of the survey in our last tab in this section, and you can read about our methodology in our source descriptions.

Here we see all of the jobs that at least 1% of producers and directors reported holding in their second year's survey. Is your future job on this list?

Producers and directorsManagers (specialized areas)Television, video, and motion picture camera operators and editorsChief executives and legislatorsNews analysts, reporters and correspondentsEntertainers and related workers (specialized areas)Industrial production managersEntertainment agents and business managersHand laborers and freight, stock, and material moversSpecialized media/broadcast techniciansMarketing and sales managersEducation administratorsFirst-line supervisors of non-retail sales workers
Lateral career moves
Lateral job transitions for producers and directors

A lateral career transition is a move to a job with similar pay and responsibilities. A move to such a job can offer a change of pace without an increase in stress or a decrease in pay. The following table simply identifies all 5 jobs which were held by at least 1% of survey respondents before working as producers and directors as well as 1% of respondents after working as producers and directors. Select a row to investigate the job's full description and determine if it truly offers an opportunity for a lateral transition.

Lateral-move careers for producers and directors
Annual openings
How many openings are expected each year?
Salary
Salary distribution for people in this occupation. Range is 0-$200,000.
Median
Middle 50%
Middle 80%
Education
High School
Some College
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Doctorate
Gender
Men
Women
Managers (specialized areas)
84,000
$0$200K$72K
Chief executives and legislators
24,000
$0$200K$96K
Specialized media/broadcast technicians
16,700
$0$200K$51K
Television, video, and motion picture camera operators and editors
7,100
$0$200K$49K
News analysts, reporters and correspondents
4,500
$0$200K$50K
Full prior and next career listings
Prior and next careers for producers and directors: full listings

What do people typically do before and after they work as producers and directors? Here are the full lists of all jobs that at least 1% of producers and directors surveyed reported as holding a year earlier or later.

Choose which type of transition to view
Prior jobs
Next jobs
Read about producers and directors
Responsibilities and activities
Responsibilities and activities

Producers and directors typically do the following:

  • Select scripts or topics for a film, show, commercial, or play
  • Audition and select cast members and the film or stage crew
  • Approve the design and financial aspects of a production
  • Oversee the production process, including performances, lighting, and choreography
  • Oversee the postproduction process, including editing, special effects, music selection, and a performance’s overall tone
  • Ensure that a project stays on schedule and within budget
  • Promote finished works or productions through interviews, advertisements, and film festivals

Producers make the business and financial decisions for a motion picture, TV show, commercial, or stage production. They raise money for the project and hire the director and crew. The crew may include set and costume designers, film and video editors, a musical director, a choreographer, and other workers. Some producers may assist in the selection of cast members. Producers set the budget and approve any major changes to the project. They make sure that the production is completed on time, and they are ultimately responsible for the final product.

Directors are responsible for the creative decisions of a production. They select cast members, conduct rehearsals, and direct the work of the cast and crew. During rehearsals, they work with the actors to help them portray their characters more accurately. For nonfiction video, such as documentaries or live broadcasts, directors choose topics or subjects to film. They investigate the topic and may interview relevant participants or experts on camera. Directors also work with cinematographers and other crew members to ensure that the final product matches the overall vision.

Directors work with set designers, costume designers, location scouts, and art directors to build a project’s set. During a film’s postproduction phase, they work closely with film editors and music supervisors to make sure that the final product comes out the way the producer and director envisioned. Stage directors, unlike television or film directors, who document their product with cameras, make sure that the cast and crew give a consistently strong live performance. For more information, see the profiles on actors, writers and authors, film and video editors and camera operators, dancers and choreographers, and multimedia artists and animators.

Large productions often have various producers who share responsibilities. For example, on a large movie set, an executive producer is in charge of the entire production and a line producer runs the day-to-day operations. A TV show may employ several assistant producers to whom the head or executive producer gives certain duties, such as supervising the costume and makeup teams.

Similarly, large productions usually employ several assistant directors, who help the director with smaller production tasks such as making set changes or notifying the performers when it is their time to go onstage. The specific responsibilities of assistant producers or directors vary with the size and type of production they work on.

Although directors are in charge of the creative aspects of a show, they ultimately answer to producers. Some directors also share producing duties for their own films.

Personality and skills
Personality and skills

Can you see yourself in the ranks of producers and directors? Here are the skills and traits that could lead to success.

Communication skills
Producers and directors must coordinate the work of many different people to finish a production on time and within budget.
Creativity
Because a script can be interpreted in different ways, directors must decide how they want to interpret it and then how to represent the script’s ideas on the screen or stage.
Leadership skills
Directors instruct actors and help them portray their characters in a believable manner. They also supervise the crew, which is responsible for behind-the-scenes work.
Time-management skills
Producers must find and hire the best director and crew for the production. They make sure that all involved do their jobs effectively, keeping within a production schedule and a budget.
Trends in employment
Salary trends
Distribution and trends: Salaries for producers and directors
Choose actual dollars or inflation-adjusted dollars to view
Adjusted for inflation
Historic dollars

In 2018, the median (middle) salary for producers and directors was higher than 79% of all other jobs' middle salaries. This graphic shows how the salary distribution (adjusted for inflation) has changed for this job over recent years. The gray line, as a comparison, shows the median salary of all US workers.

This job's median $72KAll jobs' median $39K$70K$38K200420052006200720082009201020112012201320142015201620172018$0$50K$100K$150K$200K$250K
Projected versus actual employment
Exploring actual employment trends versus projected trends

Currently, jobs for producers and directors are anticipated to grow by 12% over the next decade; only 19% of jobs are predicted to grow more.

The projected employment for producers and directors is the best guess created by talented economists and statisticians at the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). However, as you look through several careers you'll notice that the projections are heavily influenced by past performance and may miss current trends. No one can tell the future, and as new information and better techniques are developed, actual counts and future projections may change. Here's a glimpse at the actual counts versus the projections over time.

2000201020202030050,000100,000150,000200,000
Employment counts
Actual measured employment
BLS 10-year predictions
Variation by state
Employment
State-by-state employment numbers

Some careers tend to be centered in specific parts of the country. For example, most jobs in fashion are in New York or California. Let's see if your dream job is easy to find in your dream location! We have a few choices for viewing the data that can help you get a full employment picture.

Job density versus job count

Which states hire the most producers and directors? We wonder if that's a fair question since states come in all sizes, so instead let's start with the question of which states have the highest density of people working as producers and directors. You can choose to view the number of jobs per state if you prefer.

BLS vs ACS data

This map defaults to employment information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which provides job totals carefully compiled for accuracy and with a primary focus on how employers describe their workers. The BLS job totals do not count self-employed workers. We've also compiled totals using the Census Bureau's American Community Survey (ACS) which are based on how workers describe themselves. Sometimes ACS results are quite a bit different from the employer-based BLS data.

Choose the metric to review
Jobs per 1000 working
Number of jobs
Use this data source
BLS
Number of Producers and Directors per 1,000 workers (BLS)
Select a state to see local area details
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0.01.02.03.04.0
Salary
Salaries by state
Let's get a feel for where producers and directors earn the highest salaries. There are several choices for which data we consider and how we view that data, and each can lead to different conclusions, so please read on...
Median salary versus state ratio

We use two methods to compare salaries across states:

  • In-state comparisons: the ratio of median (middle) salaries for producers and directors compared to the median salary for all people working in each state, or
  • Median salary: the unaltered median salaries for producers and directors.

We hope the ratio allows perspective about how salaries may compare to the regional cost-of-living.

BLS vs ACS data

We have two sources for statewide salary information with important distinctions. The BLS data is created by surveying companies, missing individuals who are self-employed or work for smaller companies. The ACS data is compiled from multi-faceted household surveys and may reflect the inconsistencies that people may have in reporting information.

Choose the metric to review
In-state comparisions
Median salary
Use this data source
BLS
Median salary ratio: Producers and Directors to all workers (BLS)
The darkest shading corresponds to states in which producers and directors earn the highest salary when compared to other jobs in the state. We think this ratio might be a better indicator than the actual salary for your buying power as a state resident.
Select a state to see local area details
AKMEVTNHWAIDMTNDMNMINYMARIORUTWYSDIAWIINOHPANJCTCANVCONEMOILKYWVVAMDDEAZNMKSARTNNCSCDCOKLAMSALGAHITXFLPR
0.00.51.01.52.02.5
Compare to similar jobs

If this job interests you, then use the dots below to find other jobs you might like. The dots closer to the top represent jobs that are like Producers and directors (shown with a blue star). Look for the dots to the right to find the best salaries! (We pulled salary data from BLS, and they give a top salary value of just over $200K to protect privacy, so our graph would go much higher if the salaries were not top coded.)

How should the career similarity be computed

There are a number of ways to measure the similarity of jobs, here are a few we provide:

  • Interests: Also known as a Holland Code - Are you a thinker? A helper? What fits your personality?
  • Environment: Are there hazards? Will you be comfortable? Will it be stressful?
  • Knowledge: What do you need to know the most about?
  • Physical Abilities: Do you need to especially strong or coordinated?
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