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Quill & Quire, “Canada’s magazine of book news and reviews,” recently released a survey of attitudes, standards, and salaries in the publishing profession. The results hardly paint a picture of an industry in decline. Of course, publishers could always be happier, and have some very specific discontents, but overall, they seem to be surviving digital disruption very well.

Excerpts from the actual survey show salaries and compensation sort of holding ground in the profession. On average, around 56 percent of all employee types received bonuses in 2012, with the percentage in sales, marketing and publicity rather higher (though that may be accounted for by bonus-driven sales incentive schemes). On average, 37 percent reported a pay rise of around 2 percent in 2012, but the weighting is somewhat higher towards the senior end of the professional hierarchy, with publishers or VPs of publishing recording 50 percent.

That said, Q&Q does broadly conclude that “salaries have stagnated” and that “salary levels are by far the most common cause of job angst.” My suspicion from observation of numerous other industries over the same time period, though, is that a similar pattern has occurred in most other sectors. The 22 percent of respondents who “indicated that, in two years, they no longer expect to be working within the book industry” might actually have a different view if they saw the actual salary levels in other professions.

Q&Q also records a high level of job satisfaction among publishing industry employees. “People who work in publishing are book-lovers, so they take great pleasure – joy, even – in creating books (or promoting them, or selling them) and being surrounded by others of their ilk,” according to Q&Q. In percentage terms, only 5 percent of participants recorded poor job satisfaction, while “40 percent scored their job satisfaction as ‘very good’ or ‘excellent,’ and a further 38 percent marked it as ‘good’.”

So if you want to do something you love, enter publishing, it sees – except for one other nagging figure. “According to the survey, 75 per cent of the publishing workforce is female, but only 52 per cent of senior management roles are held by women. On average, women earn 18 per cent less than men, and are less likely to have earned a bonus or raise.” Q&Q rightly concluded that “in an industry whose strength is its workforce, evidence of such systemic bias cannot be tolerated.”

So yes, publishing is still a great career – if you’re a guy:  Little digitally disrupted, and even less gender disrupted.

 

 
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