Survey reveals industry-wide pay disparity in publishing

Later today (16/12) the House of Commons will vote on a bill brought forward by Labour MP Sarah Champion that would make the need for large companies to reveal the disparities in their workers’ salaries legally binding. If passed, the bill could make for some uncomfortable publicity for publishing firms in particular, with a recent survey carried out by independent careers consultancy suggesting industry-wide failures on the gender wage gap and the disparity between entry level and salary average pay.

From a sample size of 901 respondents – 81.8% of whom were female – the survey found that, on average, men working in publishing are paid 16% more than women: a pay disparity of around two months’ wages per year.

Though the average salary for the industry increased by 13.2% since 2008 – up to £28,661 per year from £24,871 – entry level salaries have only increased by 2.7%, up from £17,300 in 2008 to £17,775. That means there is now a difference of 61.2% between entry level and salary average, a massive increase of 17.4% from 2008’s figure of 43.8%. 80.2% of respondents to the survey were aged 35 or under.

The survey also reveals a serious issue of diversity within publishing, with 93.7% of respondents describing themselves as White British. This, alarmingly, is an increase of 3% on 2008’s figures, despite campaigns to broaden the field carried out by the likes of Creative Access and Equip.

Suzanne Collier – who founded and authored the survey – says of the findings: ‘The industry needs to take a long hard look at itself if it wants to attract and retain staff with the best skills and competencies.  I think that diversity will only truly address itself properly when publishers pay everyone on a work experience placement and entry level salaries start to mirror other industries which take staff fresh from university.

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