COMP NEWS – A new salary survey on the publishing industry has been released, showing that compensation lagged behind rising inflation over the past year.

Like most workers in the U.S., employees at publishing houses had difficulty keeping up with inflation last year. The median raise reported by the 618 respondents to PW’s annual salary and job survey was 3.4% in 2022, whereas prices were up 6.5% over 2021. While 25% of respondents reported getting a raise of 6% or higher, that was offset by the 20% who said they received no raise at all. In surveys prior to the pandemic, the median annual increase typically hovered between 3% and 4%, but that was when inflation was increasing at a more moderate rate.

But there are some caveats regarding the 3.4% raise: excluding those who didn’t receive any raise, the average increase was 5.6% last year, substantially closer to the inflation rate. And when bonuses are added in, total compensation for all respondents was up about 6% over 2021, landing at $72,000 in 2022.

Still, the combination of modest raises and low starting salaries was one of the big factors that drove the HarperCollins union to strike in November 2022. After a three-month walkout, the union won an increase in starting salary from a minium of $45,000 to $47,500, with that figure set to hit $50,000 on Jan. 1, 2025.

The survey shows little change in the gender pay gap, even as more women moved into prestigious and higher-paying positions.

The change in the demographic makeup of those who responded to the latest survey (65% of whom work at trade houses) was modest. Eighty-one percent of respondents were white, down from 83% in last year’s survey. Hispanic representation rose from 5% to 6%, and 5% of respondents identified as Asian, up from 4%.

Women’s share of the workforce in 2022 was 77%, even with the prior year, but the share of male respondents fell two percentage points, to 18%. The percentage of respondents who identified as nonbinary rose to 5% from 3%.

There was little change in the gender pay gap, even as more women moved into management ranks; the survey found women in management had a median income of $120,000. Men in management had a median income of $110,000. Overall, however, median compensation for men was $89,000 in 2022, while median compensation for women was $70,000.

The reasons for the disparity haven’t changed: while 56% of managers who responded were women, women have an even greater presence in the lower-paying areas of editorial, sales and marketing, and operations. And the median length of time in the industry from male respondents was 21 years, compared to 10 years for women.

To read the survey yourself, click here.

For more Comp News, see our recent posts.

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