As of April 1, the average entry-level salary for publishing employees located in New York City at the Big Five trade publishers and Scholastic was $47,583, up from $38,583 before the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a recent survey conducted by PW. That marks an increase of 23.3%, during a period when prices rose 12.4%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Publishers raced to increase starting salaries beginning in 2020, after the onset of the pandemic and the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police prompted book business workers to call attention to social justice causes, including the need for publishing employees to make a living wage. Another round of salary increases occurred earlier this year across the Big Five—including at HarperCollins, where union members ended a three-month strike in February.
According to the publishers polled in this survey, staffers work between 35 and 40 hours a week, depending on the company, and all are eligible for overtime. Respondents to the industrywide 2022 PW salary survey said they were working an average of 42 hours per week—including time outside the office—the same number of hours they reported working in 2021. The survey also found that median compensation for staff with less than five years of experience was $46,000 for editorial, $48,000 for sales and marketing, and $61,500 for operations and production.
While publishers would of course not divulge plans for further changes to entry-level salaries in the future, HarperCollins is bound by its new union contract to increase its starting salary for union workers over the coming years. According to the agreement, “in terms of minimum salaries, the lowest salary, $47,500, will increase to $48,500 in January 2024 and go up to $50,000 in January 2025.” In addition, a representative from HarperCollins noted that New York employees covered by the union who make less than $60,000 can work two hours of overtime per week without manager preapproval.
PW will follow up on the information presented in this survey in our annual salary survey later this year.
Correction: An earlier version of this piece underrepresented the entry-level salary Macmillan's trade division.