The 2012 Editorial Salary Survey
Compensation for mid to upper-level editors is a mixed bag when comparing 2011.
There’s really no big news when looking at editorial salaries from 2011 to 2012. As you’ll see in the title breakdowns in the next few pages, if salaries grew or shrank they only did so slightly. The interesting insights, however, have to do with workload and satisfaction.
Clearly, the broadening of responsibilities has continued, with top editors noting in verbatims that added duties include business planning, conference programming and a host of digital oversight. Executive editors cite more responsibilities in digital work and social media while managing and senior editors report similar job duty expansions.
Among the challenges listed in the verbatims, deadline management received multiple references, which is not surprising give the extra workload editors are taking on. In fact, comments related to workload, finding the time to manage it and figuring out how to efficiently process it were frequent. All this on top of, you guessed it, “lack of resources,” which also made multiple appearances in the verbatim responses. One respondent summed it up this way: “Absolutely not enough time to accomplish all my acquired tasks or the resources to help.”
Another respondent, commenting on industry trends that are expected to have an impact on compensation, noted the dangers of being attached to a print product: “Print pubs receive little attention or care from our association leadership. Most attention, resources, etc., to online/web staff, with very little output/deliverables required. My skill set is not rewarded, so the trend to digital will affect me, unless I change careers.”
According to the survey, 72 percent of respondents have taken on additional responsibilities, a trend that’s at a similar level to 2011, when 77 percent of respondents said the same thing. However, compensation doesn’t appear to be matching the extra work in the minds of the respondents. Only 6 percent feel they’re compensated “very well”—with 5 in a scale of 1 to 5 representing the best—for the additional duties. About a quarter of respondents landed in the middle of the scale, and 30 percent feel they’re not compensated well at all for the extra work.
Getting more specific, survey respondents were asked about duties and whether involvement in them increased. By far, online content was the top area, with 86 percent of respondents saying that they’re working more in this area. Event development was second at 37 percent of respondents and print was close behind at 34 percent—which could either mean staffs are shrinking with editors taking on a heavier product load, or new print products are being introduced.
SALARY BY CATEGORY:
Top editors generally saw their pay increase this year, except in the b-to-b category, which dipped only slightly from a mean salary of $96,500 in 2011 to $94,800 this year. Consumer editorial directors made the highest leap in pay from year to year, going from $79,600 last year to $89,000 this year—still lower overall than both b-to-b and association top editors. Association editorial directors edged up $6,300 this year to a total mean base salary of $96,500.
A similar situation can be said for additional cash payouts—b-to-b top editors received about $11,500 in extra cash last year and $9,600, or just over 10 percent of base pay, this year. Not bad, in either case. Consumer editorial directors received an extra $6,600 in cash and Association editors took in $8,500 on top of their base pay.
The New York area remains the place to be for the top end of the pay scale, with editorial directors in that region getting $137,200 compared to $87,900 outside of the region.
Company revenue also has an impact on pay, with revenues of $10 million or more resulting in a $115,000 salary, much higher than companies making $3 million or less on the top line who pay their editorial directors about $69,400.
Unlike their editorial director supervisors, b-to-b editors jumped slightly in pay for 2012, going from a mean base salary of $67,300 in 2011 to $71,000 in 2012. Consumer editors dropped a bit for 2012, going from $79,300 in 2011 to $77,300. And association editors bumped up from a 2011 mean of $66,900 to $69,600 in 2012.
Consumer editors won the additional cash contest, bringing in an extra $7,000 in 2012. B-to-b editors were next in line for additional cash with $5,500 and association editors expect to receive another $4,900.
The number of publications worked on doesn’t seem to impact pay for this group. Editors that work on one magazine receive $72,000 while editors that work on two or more magazines bring in $73,300. Whether those magazines are paid circ or not, however, does impact salary.
Editors that work on paid only circulation receive $88,300 while editors responsible for controlled only get a significantly lower $68,700. Those who work on both receive $70,200. Supervision is another needle-mover, with editors supervising five or more staffers getting $94,000 while editors who supervise one to four getting $71,000. Editors in the unfortunate position of having no staff to supervise bring in a significantly lower $67,700.
SALARY BY CATEGORY:
Managing editor pay generally remained flat from 2011 to 2012, except for those who work for association publications, whose mean salary rose from $60,200 in 2011 to $65,600 in 2012. B-to-b managing editors dipped slightly in 2012, going from $56,900 last year to $55,500 in 2012. Likewise for consumer managing editors, who dropped only $600, ending at $61,600 for 2012.
As for additional cash, b-to-b managing editors did not do as well as their consumer and association counterparts. B-to-b managing editors earned an extra $3,300 in 2012, while consumer and association managing editors expect to see another $6,900 and $5,500, respectively.
Hours worked seems to have a slight impact on pay scales. Managing editors in the unfortunate position of having to work 50 hours or more per week earn an average of $64,300. Those who work 41 to 49 hours per week bring in an average of $60,100 and managing editors who work a straight 40-hour work week average $57,200. Post-graduate degrees earn managing editors an almost $10,000 bump in pay, while 20 years or more in the industry can help a managing editor make $24,500 more than those who have been in it 10 years or less.
A survey sample of 2,000 was selected in systematic fashion by Red 7 Media, publisher of Folio:, and Readex Research, representing 2,520 domestic subscribers and show and webinar attendees. Data was collected via mail survey by Readex Research starting on April 25. The survey was closed for tabulation on May 30, 2012 with 513 usable responses—a 26 percent response rate. The margin of error for percentages based on 443 key respondents is +/- 4.2 percentage points at the 95% confidence level.