Gender Pay Gap in UK Book Publishing - An industry where women outnumber men

New Salary Survey Shows Industry Still Grappling with the Gender Pay Gap

Analysis of the 2017 Salary Survey reveals that that men are more likely to hold senior and higher paying management roles, with little progress made on reducing the gender pay gap.

In an industry where most of the employees are women by of (84.6% of respondents to the survey)*, it stands to reason that the book publishing industry should be leading the way when it comes to equal pay, but as the latest salary survey from shows, this isn’t the case. After the long-awaited gender pay gap reporting rules came in to force earlier this year, this survey is a timely reminder to the industry to address the fundamental issue of gender discrimination within businesses.

Average Salaries

The average starting salary of the 1,023 respondents has seen the biggest improvement over the past four years, growing 13.2% since 2013 to £20,470. Calculated on those who are 19-23 years old who have been in the industry for less than a year, this change feels positive, although the individual salaries for a few of the entry level roles have stagnated.

Suzanne Collier from says “I really feel that are due some credit for helping to push up the entry level salary; it still isn’t great but it is a huge increase compared to previous surveys. This is what salary transparency does; it helps publishers realise that things are not acceptable and then they can rectify the situation”.

But elsewhere, the victories feel hollower. The average overall salary was up 11.7% on 2013, reaching £32,228, but with 47.9% of males earning higher than the average compared to just 31.5% of women, the gender pay gap becomes more obvious.


90.4% of all respondents classed themselves as White, British compared to 2013 when 93.7% of all respondents classed themselves as White, British. In 2008, when first started collecting diversity data, the percentage of White British was 90.7%, so 2017 marginally affords the most diverse figure yet, but this is not to be celebrated and the hard work and campaigns by Equip and Creative Access must continue so that employees of publishers represent the way that society is today.

The Gender Pay Gap

The survey shows that the current pay gap is still at 15.7%, a minimal improvement on 2013 (16%). Suzanne Collier puts this down to seniority:

“The survey results indicate that the gender pay gap is occurring because of those who responded, many men tended to be employed in management or senior roles, and many women appear to be in lower roles, which are paying less. For an industry where over 80% of respondents are women, it is disappointing that a gender pay gap occurs at all.”

However, the survey also shows that where men and women are performing equal roles, the gender pay gap is negligible, and in some cases women are getting paid more than their male counterparts. Is this an indication that the gender pay gap is being addressed? When compared to the national average (18.1%), the publishing industry is making strides towards parity between pay, and yet the survey reveals that there is still work to be done.


  • The UK book trade publishes more than 100,000 new titles with annual sales worth as much as £4.4bn
  • Almost 90% of employees in UK book publishing are educated to graduate level or above
  • Salary Survey 2017 is the most comprehensive analysis of pay and conditions in the book business ever undertaken. The survey was conducted by the careers advisory service during June and July 2017. It has analysed completed questionnaires from 1,023 book trade staffers, ranging from editorial assistants to book publishing managers and senior executives
  • The gender pay gap is currently 18.1%, and at the current rate, will take until 2041 to close

*Figure from 1,023 respondents, Salary Survey 2017

The Salary Survey 2017 is sponsored by Inspired Search and Selection Ltd.

More headline results, including a selection of average salaries will be published at 1pm on 6/9/17 over twitter using the hashtag #bookcareers and the full report containing over 200 tables and statistical data is now on sale at the price of £699 from is an independent careers consultancy that provides career services (career development, redundancy counselling, and work support) across the publishing industry to companies and individuals.

All data is © 2017.

Press release distributed by Pressat on behalf of, on Wednesday 6 September, 2017. For more information subscribe and follow

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Suzanne Collier
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Gender Pay Gap in UK Book Publishing - An industry where women outnumber men