Salary exposé circulates in the industry

Salary exposé circulates in the industry

A document circulating the industry is inviting staffers to share their salaries "for the sake of transparency and change".

It comes as questions surrounding low pay levels and poor pay transparency prompt a conversation in publishing.

Over 500 staffers so far have entered their salary, ethnicity, sexual orientation and gender identity into the document, in addition to their years of industry experience. The majority of staffers who have contributed so far work at large publishing houses, with a white, cisgendered female population comprising the largest demographic. 

The lowest salary disclosed thus far is a digital marketing assistant's £18,000 full-time wage at Pan Macmillan; the highest salary is the £80,000 earnings of a marketing director at Penguin Random House.

Editorial assistants working at Orion and Hachette cited salaries of £23,000, and assistant editors at PRH and Bloomsbury reported £27,000 salaries, with one commissioning editor at Bloomsbury reporting a £30,000 salary and another at PRH paid £34,000.

Press officers at Penguin, HarperCollins and Bloomsbury have reported being paid roughly the same, with most averaging £26,000.

A full-time marketing manager at PRH earns £36,000 with nine years of experience in the industry, while the head of marketing at the same company earns £44,000. A head of marketing at Hachette reported a £40,000 salary. 

A senior marketing executive at a large indie publisher in London, earning £41,000, commented in the document: "Our company has an open salary grading system. I started on a temporary contract almost five years ago, the salary was stated on the job spec and I almost didn’t apply because it was so well-paid compared to what I’d been on at a big five publisher. I was clearly qualified for the job, and had been underpaid for years, was thankfully made permanent and have been promoted once, as well as receiving a time-served pay increase. I know I am one of the lucky ones, and I’m grateful — and yet I still get paid so much less than male pals in other industries."

A marketing manager at Hachette earning £32,000 said: "I've worked in the industry for seven years including at PRH, joining with four years' experience in other industries which I was essentially told 'didn't count' and that everyone has to start in publishing on the bottom rung and work their way up. There have been countless occasions where I have been told people must 'do their time' before being promoted. The familiar phrase, that there wasn't budget for promotion or that an appraisal wasn't the space to discuss salary, meant progression was extremely vague and hard to achieve within the same company."

A marketing and publicity manager earning £31,000 at HarperCollins said: "There is no negotiation structure, it all depends on you as an individual and how confident you are, but you're made to feel guilty for discussing pay. I've only had unsuccessful attempts in pay rise negotiations in my current role."

A senior marketing executive at a large indie publisher disclosed her £41,000 earnings, while a position carrying the same job title at Penguin pays £30,000 and at HarperCollins £28,000. 

A marketing and operations executive at PRH started on £21,000 and ended up on £27,000 five years later. She said she was "told that the annual 'conversation', because they refuse to call it an appraisal, was not the time to bring up pay and if I didn't like it there were hundreds of people ready to jump in to replace me. I successfully negotiated one pay rise of £2,000 but only by sheer determination and insistence that it be reviewed. It took me two years."

Production controllers at Pan Macmillan reported £27,500 salaries, rising to £34,200 at senior level. A production controller at an independent illustrated publisher earns £26,000 after working in publishing for five years. The contributor said she "tried to negotiate up a salary at the time of promotion to closer to what I knew the role had previously paid. I was told that I should not be discussing salaries with my colleagues. I was promised a review a year later, which never happened."

The information in the spreadsheet currently circulating has been provided by individuals and is not confirmed by publishers, meaning there may be some variations in the dates of the salaries listed and the precise scope of the roles involved.