While magazine publishing is an industry that tends to have an equal number of men and women employees, it seems as though men often make higher salaries than women across almost every publishing discipline. And the gap widens with more senior titles: entry and some mid-level positions pay almost equal salaries for men and women but with management positions, the difference could be $20,000 or more.
There are many variables that go into salary range, including location (publishing employees in the New York City area earn far more than those in other parts of the country, regardless of gender), seniority (the more years in, the more money you make) and company size (those who work for publishers that make more than $10 million in annual revenue tend to earn more than those who don’t).
And, of course, there are exceptions. Peggy Northrop, editor-in-chief of Reader’s Digest, earns $790,189, compared to Frank Lalli, former editorial director of the now defunct Purpose Driven Life, who made $412,942 according to Reader’s Digest’s bankruptcy filing. In 2008, MPA president Nina Link made $740,713 in total compensation, compared to American Business Media president Gordon Hughes, who received $400,511 in total compensation, according to association filings. Of course, both Northrop and Link are in charge of much larger properties.
However, it’s significant that the closest salary gap across four major publishing disciplines in 2009 was $1,500 and that no position in any publishing category featured women earning a mean salary that was higher than their male counterparts, according to FOLIO:’s 2009 salary surveys.
On the editorial side, managing and senior editors made about the same salaries (a mean of $66,000 for men, $64,000 for women). But by the time they reach an editorial director/editor-in-chief position, the mean salary for men is $92,100, or 8.7 percent more than the mean salary of $84,700 made by women.
While salespeople start off with a $7,000 gap in mean salaries between men and women, by the time they got to the sales director/publisher position, men took in nearly $21,000 more than their female counterparts ($121,000 versus $120,000).
The emerging position of audience development director and manager showed the widest gap, with males making a mean of $92,100, while females earned $69,300 (a difference of $22,000).
The smallest gap seems to come with art directors, where men received just $1,500 more in mean 2009 salary than their female peers. However, male production mangers made almost $8,000 more, while top male production executives made $15,000 more.