Fashion models

9 surprisingly low-paying jobs

Melissa Allen|

We’ve spent a lot of time discussing the highest and lowest paying jobs in Canada, and even uncovered 10 surprisingly high-paying jobs. To continue the project of uncovering how much money different Canadians are earning, this week we take a look at nine glamorous yet surprisingly low-paying jobs.

    1. Fashion magazine intern: If you’re a magazine intern, chances are you’re working for free – a hotly debated topic that is leading to many industry reforms.

    2. Actor/Actress: In Canada, if you’re a member of the ACTRA union, and have some landed some paying gigs for the year, you could expect to earn $11,269 in one year.

    3. Novelist: If you’re imagining the life of a novelist to be full of book tours, fancy cocktail receptions, six-figure film deals, and best seller lists, think again. $5,000 book advances for your first novel are the norm and the average fiction writer in Canada earns about $500 a year in royalties.

    4. Fashion designer: if you work on the creative team at a well-established clothing brand, you look forward to a decent salary and the panache that comes from working for an industry leader. However, you’d be surprised how many relatively young but established brands are actually struggling.

    5. Fashion model: A model who makes $30,000 a year is considered a successful one, by industry standards. For every Coco Rocha, there are thousands of models who often have to work for very little pay or even free, especially for the privilege of modeling for major fashion labels and magazines that can boost your career and give more exposure.

    6. Professional athlete: Not all Canadian professional athletes are signing million-dollar contracts. Professional athlete salaries vary by sport. For example, a National Lacrosse League player earns an average salary of $19,672 per year, the average CFL salary is around $80,000 per year, and the average NHL player salary is $2.4 million a year.

    7. Professional sports team cheerleader: Apparently, NBA cheerleaders in Canada (and the U.S.) can look forward to receiving $25 per rehearsal, $75 per game and $100 an hour for appearances.

    8. TV Host: while insiders say the average salary first year $30,000 to $71,000 for a TV Host or presenter in Canada, a friend in the industry filled me in on a little secret: many popular television VJs taken on additional administrative responsibilities (i.e. desk jobs) in order supplement their on-air wages.

    9. Flight attendant: The promise of free travel, on and off the job, make flight attendant a popular career choice for men and women who can expect a starting yearly salary of $19,000, increasing to $41,152 after 10 years of service.

The one common theme in all of these jobs is that those who take them on, often do so out of passion, choosing to forgo higher salaries to do what they love (not to mention all the free swag)!


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  • tianye22

    My wife is a Flight attendant, the starting yearly salary is not high, but this is based on around 75 working hours a “month”. The hour salary rate for flight attendant is not low. And don’t forget besides base salary they have tax-free Per diem payment when flying, and union pension after retirement (similar as government employees). I am not saying flight attendant is a high paying job, but it is not as that “low paying” as simply described in this article.

    • Brandon Kearney

      We all know the 75 hours is flight time, door close to open. so weather delays, etc all add up. 75 hours paid, for 160 hours of being at work per month is more realistic. Lets just say they spend as many hours at work as you average Monday to Friday gig. You could be a server and make more at your local bar and grill.

  • Mike Lewis

    tianyee22 – not only that she get’s to stay at nice hotels with her co-workers… if you know what I mean!

  • Mike Lewis

    I’ve met a few married flight attendants and they’re the best!

  • cougar05

    I think they should add home care nurses to this list. I make 30,000 a year and no benefits. To make what teachers in Canada make I would have to work 24/7. I think there is something very wrong with that picture when we have to pay around 500 bucks a year in professional fees and insurance, put up with abuse for families and patients, work holidays weekends and nights. We have to deal with the disgusting, sad and happy situations that many people would walk away from. Yet we don’t make much money. Compare it to a family doctor that makes 250 thousand to order tests and prescribe pills and tell people what diease they have. The nurses adminster those meds, give those tests and help people get over the shock of finding out what disease they have, and make sure they have all the information they need on that disease.

  • Matt

    It’s not surprising. Just supply and demand. If everyone wants to do it, the pay is less.