The slumbering national economy is reflected in both the salary gains and the attitudes of those in the publishing industry, PW's annual salary survey found. In 2007, the average raise was 4.2%, above the rate of inflation but still the smallest increase in more than five years (see. p. 26).
Bonuses were also lower in 2007 than in 2006, with those in management feeling the belt-tightening most acutely; their bonuses were half what they got in 2006. The overall percentage of industry members satisfied with their jobs, which in 2006 dipped below 50% for the first time, rose a bit, to 52%, last year, although the percentage of employees who are very unhappy with their jobs remained at least year's record level: 16%. While low pay was once again the main source of dissatisfaction, two new factors were major contributors—lack of advancement opportunities plus company and industry instability.
Still, job insecurity was at its lowest level since 2003, with 73% of industry members saying they feel at least somewhat secure, while 27% reported they are at least somewhat insecure, including 8%—a new high—saying they are very worried about their positions. Those who are the most worried about their future are employed in the publishing segments undergoing the most significant technology changes. Only 66% of educational publishing employees feel secure in their jobs, with a large number, 18%, reporting they are very worried about their jobs, while in professional publishing, 70% feel their jobs are secure. In addition to changes brought about by technology, educational publishing continues to undergo a significant amount of consolidation, and 26% of education publishing employees expect layoffs at their company, the highest among publishing segments. Although 19% of those in trade publishing expect layoffs, employees in trade publishing are relatively secure about their positions, with 52% feeling somewhat secure and 21% very secure.
The combination of low pay and job insecurity seems to have taken some of the luster off of working in publishing. For the first time, the percentage of industry members who would recommend publishing as a career fell below 80%. Women, despite earning substantially less than men on average, are more inclined to still recommend publishing, with 81% reporting they would advise a college graduate to get into publishing, compared to 73% of men.
The salary divide between men and women actually increased in 2007—men received an average salary increase of 4.5% last year, compared to 4.2% for women. Men earned an average salary of $103,822 last year, compared to $64,742 for women, and while one reason for the higher overall salary for men is that more men are in the higher paying management and sales side of the business, the discrepancy is in all segments, including editorial, where men out-earned women $67,000 to $48,000.
While little progress was made in narrowing the salary disparity between men and women, this year's survey found that other parts of the country are catching up to the mid-Atlantic in terms of pay. The Western U.S. posted solid increases in all four major job segments, while median salaries in the South and Midwest went up in all but the operations segment.
Job hopping is a common way to move ahead in publishing, although this year's survey found that switching jobs or getting a promotion did not result in a significant boost in pay. In fact, the average salary increase among employees who took a new job last year was 4%, lower than the 4.2% raise received by employees who remained in the same positions. Still, 30% of respondents expect to leave their companies over the next two years, with 11% planning to change careers and another 11% expecting to join a different publisher (6% expect to be self-employed and 2% plan to retire). One area that appears to be hiring new talent is the digital space; 34% of those surveyed report that their company is hiring people for digital positions. Trade publishers are doing the most hiring, but that may be because the professional and educational segments are further along in using technology, and have already staffed up.
With greater attention now being paid to the environment, it comes as little surprise that all but 3% of industry members say their company has implemented some sort of green initiative. Trade publishers appear to be taking the lead here, with 67% saying their company prints some books on recycled paper, while another 56% reported that their house has implementing building initiatives such as using energy-saving light bulbs. And 46% of trade publishers say they use electronic readers to distribute galleys in-house. The only area where trade publishers are not leading the publishing industry is in the use of teleconferencing, where 54% of educational publishers say they are using this tool to reduce travel-related carbon emissions as well as expenses.
All results of the survey are based on 1,350 responses to an online questionnaire sent to PW subscribers this spring.