As in the previous years' salary surveys that Folio: has conducted among the various disciplines in magazine media, the gender gap is frustratingly persistent. That gap appers to shrink in the higher-level titles, but it remains significant.
At the associate level, males out-earn females by a shocking 51 percent in total compensation. Male managing editors make 24 percent more in salary and editors-in-chief make 19 percent more if they’re male.
“I am female and know absolutely that I am still not earning as much as my male peers in the company,” said one respondent.
Other factors that impact pay levels by a significant margin are geographic location, whether the individual has a post-graduate degree, and age. Editors, at all levels, over the age of 40 make an average of 38 percent more than editors under the age of 40.
Similar to age, experience, as expected, plays a role in pay. At the editor-in-chief level, for example, a person with 20 years or more in the industry makes an average of $16,400 more than someone with less than 10 years in the industry.
More than in previous years, post-graduate degrees had a bigger influence on pay in 2015. In 2014, a post-graduate degree was indeterminate, showing mixed results across the job titles. Top editors with an advanced degree in 2014, for example, actually reported lower salaries than their peers with a regular graduate degree.
Base salary levels are generally lower in 2015 versus last year, but in some cases other cash compensation, such as bonuses, pushed total pay levels higher than 2014. Editor-in-chief base salary dipped from a mean of $90,600 in 2014 to $88,900 this year. Managing editors made an average of $67,650 last year in base salary and $64,300 this year. Folio: was unable to get enough of a sample for the associate editor level in 2014.
Not Very Happy with Pay
In comments, respondents were generally un- happy with their salary levels. Raises, if any are given, are considered too small. Many respondents, as in previous surveys, continue to note the increasing workload and shrinking pool of co-workers.
In some of the verbatims, editors seem happy to simply be employed. Others see a shift where pay may have been good years ago, but hasn’t kept pace with added responsibilities. “I get paid well for a B2B magazine these days. It’s a dying field,” says one respondent. “I’ve gone from being one of five editors for a print pub to being the only editor for both print and a daily digital in 15 years. I’m not paid enough for the amount of work I do, but I get paid well compared to many of my peers.”
Data was collected via online survey from April 22, to May 22, 2015. The survey was closed for tabulation with 1,254 total responses—a 2 percent response rate. The margin of error for percentages based on 1,195 tabulated responses is ±2.8 percentage points at the 95 percent con- fidence level. The margin of error for percent- ages based on smaller sample sizes will be larger.
Editors-in-chief working for an association out-earned their colleagues in both B2B and consumer media this year. That pattern played out similarly in 2013, but not in 2014, where top editors at associations came in well under B2B and consumer levels. But as in previous surveys, B2B and consumer top editor pay is very close, with the two categories actually reporting the same $86,300 salary this year. Male top editors out-earn their female col- leagues by 19 percent in total compensation. That difference shrinks to 12 percent, however, when looking at base salary. Males reported more than double “other cash compensation” than their female counterparts. Another major factor is age. An editor-in-chief over the age of 40 reported a 31 percent higher total compen- sation than those younger than 40.
Whether top editors work in print or digital has no impact on salary levels. That’s not the case for the mid to lower positions. This is perhaps be- cause top editors tend to have oversight of both platforms. Respondents who selected digital as their primary platform make about $2,000 less in base salary than those who work mostly on print.
For top editors, the number of supervised employees also impacts salary. An editor-in-chief who supervises a team of five or more people makes an average base salary of $111,000, $30,300 more than one who super- vises between one and four people.
As we move to the managing editor position, we see the gender gap increasing significantly to a 24 percent higher total compenstation for males. When looking specifically at base salary, that difference shrinks slightly to 21 percent.
At this level, editors who work in consumer publishing out-earn their B2B and association counterparts, and they also pulled in higher bonus and other compensation.
Number of employees supervised is not as significant at this level, but whether a managing editor works on digital or print products does matter—a trend that reverses itself as we move down from the top editor position.
Managing editors that reported digital as their primary platform make 12 percent more than their print colleagues. They’re also pulling in significantly higher bonus cash compensation—$16,900 versus $4,800. It’s an interesting paradox because print, for most publishers, still accounts for more overall revenue than digital. But digital is clearly where publishers see the most upside and are emphasizing this skillset in the hiring process.
Once again, age matters. Managing editors over 40 make a whopping 46 more than their younger, under-40, counterparts in average total compensation. That number slips to a still-significant 30 percent differential when looking at average base salary.
Similarly, the number of years in publishing also matters. Managing editors who have been kicking around for 20 years or more make $24,200 more in average base salary than those who’ve been in the industry for 10 or fewer years.
At this level, the difference in pay between men and women is the most dramatic. At a base salary level, men out-earn women by 28 percent. Factoring in other cash compensation, the difference jumps to a staggering 51 percent.
Like their top-editor superiors, associate editor pay doesn’t vary much between B2B and consumer. Those who work in associations, however, earn 21 percent more in total compensation than their for-profit counterparts.
At the base salary level, associate editors who selected digital as their primary platform make only slightly more than those who work mostly with print. But that spread widens when factoring other cash compensation—digital associate editors make five percent more than those who work on print.
Once again, age and experience matter, too. Associate editors over the age of 40 make 26 percent more in average base salary than younger associate editors and if they’ve spent 20 years or more in the industry, that gap expands to 46 percent more than associate editors who have been in the industry less than 10 years.
At this level, a post-graduate degree has a negligible effect on salary. Geography bucked the trend this year. Associate editors who work in the South out-earn their colleagues in the Northeast and Midwest by a surprising 27 percent.