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2011 Editorial Salary Survey

A look at who's making what, from editorial director to senior editor.



By Stefanie Botelho
08/08/2011

While all levels of editors are finding themselves with increasing responsibilities and decreasing resources, at least some of those surveyed are seeing relief in their paychecks. However, the editorial categories that experienced monetary gain are certainly earning their dollars.

A vast amount of editors who participated in FOLIO:’s 2011 Editorial Salary Survey, conducted by Readex Research, claimed digital duties added the most to their job descriptions this year. One respondent says, “I am now in charge of managing edit for the iPad, tracking print contributions for our dotcom and repurposing content for our dotcom as well.” In addition to the health of digital products, social media site management is another digital responsibility put under the care of editors surveyed here.

Perhaps in a reflection of these additional responsibilities (or the slowly stabilizing economy), three out of the four geographic regions surveyed experienced a spike in editorial director’s/editor-in-chief’s salary; only the West experienced a drop, polling $83,000 in 2010 and $72,400 in 2011.

Advertising revenue is a major concern for editors in 2011, as a digital answer to decreasing print ad revenue has not yet been cemented. One respondent says of their biggest challenges, “Along with the increased focus on revenue and declining resources, I also have to counter the perception that print is dead.” Another respondent sees building new revenue streams to replace faltering print ad resources as one of the most formidable challenges at their publication.

Overall, respondents to this year’s survey are interested in keeping business viable, maintaining a capable staff and staying relevant in the evolving landscape. Editors find satisfaction in their jobs in a variety of ways through their products and industry. One respondent says, “I value seeing a finished product in my hands, happy readers and friendship in the industry."

 

SALARY BY CATEGORY: EDITORIAL DIRECTOR/EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

Overall, the editorial director/editor-in-chief sector saw its pay increase in 2011. While there is still a sizeable gap between genders, both female and male editorial executives experienced rises in salaries this year; male editoral directors are up at $99,300 from 2010’s $96,900, and their female counterparts earned $77,600, up from 2010’s $74,200.

Editorial directors in the New York city area saw a fruitful 2011, with their mean salaries up about $10,000 to $108,900. The same group earned a mean of $98,200 in 2010.

The hours put in by editorial directors and editor-in-chiefs was not measured in last year's survey, but the number of hours spent in the workplace paid off for this year's survey respondents. Those who clocked out with an average work week of 40 hours earned $69,900; editors spending 41-49 hours per week in the office were paid $83,900; and respondents who put in 50 hours or more at the office earned $98,200.

Despite these positive figures, several respondents still felt overworked and under appreciated at their publications. One respondent points out, "Even though my magazine is extremely profitable, others in my company are not. We would need the entire economy to rebound in order to get paid fairly once again."

 

 

 

 

 

 

SALARY BY CATEGORY: EDITOR/EXECUTIVE EDITOR

Though some in the editor/executive editor category saw an uptick in salary in 2011, the increase was not universal. Education seems to be playing more into the monetary compensation editors are receiving this year: in 2010, those with postgrad degrees earned $69,400. In 2011, editors with advanced degrees earned a mean of $73,100.

Editors who are in charge of only one publication saw a hike in salary this year, from $71,900 in 2010 to $77,000 in 2011. Publishers with two or more publications under their tutelage experienced a small drop in mean earnings, paid $61,400 in 2011 after earning $62,700 in 2010.

This level of editor is feeling the strain of fewer staffers and more responsibility than previously expected of them by management. One respondent says, “It is difficult to complete all assignments, and the number of assignments continues to grow each year.” Along with digital and social media responsibilities, many editors find themselves in charge of recruiting for events like conferences and webinars.

Editors are hopeful that print advertising will recover along with the economy, though some aren’t as sure. One respondent says, “Print is a dying media. Probably not in my time, but eventually the Internet will do it in.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

SALARY BY CATEGORY: MANAGING/SENIOR EDITOR

The managing/senior editor sector saw their earnings remain steady in 2011, with b-to-b, consumer and association editors’ salaries  flat from the reported figures in 2010.

Those in the New York City area experienced a sizable leap in mean salary, jumping from last year’s $72,900 to $82,000 in 2011.

The amount of revenue gained by publications didn’t help either group in this category, as respondents whose publications brought in less than $3 million saw their salaries fall from 2010’s $57,800 to 2011’s $55,100. The $3 million plus sector also experienced losses, earning $69,300 in 2011 after earning $72,300 in 2010.

This group noted that staying abreast of the current technology with a small staff is one of the largest challenges they are facing this year. One respondent explains, “I manage multiple projects at one time, and have a small-sized staff. Meanwhile, we’re all adjusting to new delivery systems (i.e. technology).”

Some editors are feeling pressure about the quality of the content itself. One editor worries that their content is often redundant, while another editor says, “I experience pressure to dumb down product.”

Gender gaps widened this year in the managing/senior editor category, with females earning $52,700 and males earning $68,200. In 2010, females brought in $55,800 and males earned a mean of $65,100.

 

 

 

Methodology
A survey list of 2,000 was selected in systematic fashion by Red 7 Media and Readex Research, representing 3,159 domestic subscribers and attendees. Data was collected via mail survey by Readex Research from April 21 to June 6, 2011. The survey closed with 479 usable responses, a 24 percent response rate. Results have been filtered to include the 408 respondents with relevant titles. The margin of error is plus or minus 4.5 percent at the 95 percent confidence level.

By Stefanie Botelho
08/08/2011







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