Commentary

Salary Survey Shows Editorial Pay Hit 4-Year High Amid Gender Gap

Foliomagazine’s annual salary survey shows editorial pay rose to four-year highs last year for the highest and lowest ranks of editors, while the middle got squeezed. The survey also found persistent pay gaps between male and female editors.

The median pay for an editor-in-chief rose 2.6% to $97,900 in 2018 from a year earlier. That level surpassed the prior peak of $96,700 in 2015, but the 1.2% gain didn’t keep pace with the 5% inflation rate. (That is measured by the consumer price index starting from the beginning of 2016 to the end of last year.)

Managing editors were the only group to see declining pay, possibly indicating that publishers sought to cut costs by eliminating middle management. ME median pay slipped by 2.1% to $82,500, per Folio’s survey.

Associate editor pay rose 6.5% to a median level of $60,500, and varied widely by the size of the organization. Entry-level editors at organizations with annual revenues of more than $10 million earned 34% more than at smaller companies.

Male editors out-earned females who performed similar job duties, according to Folio’s survey. Women EICs earned 17% less than their male counterparts, according to the sample of 64 female and 59 male respondents.

Female MEs earned 14% less than males, while women associate editors were paid 24% less than men.

The gender pay gap isn’t isolated to the publishing industry. It’s a complicated issue that’s confounded policy makers and even the best-intentioned companies.

Job responsibilities can vary among workers with the same title, making direct comparisons about their pay more difficult. Differences in employee rewards -- including benefits, bonuses and stock options – also complicate the picture.

Federal agencies and several state governments are working to address pay discrepancies.

For the first time in U.S. history, employers with more than 100 workers this year are required to disclose detailed pay information to federal regulators. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has a Sept. 30 deadline for companies to report how they pay workers of all genders, races and ethnicities.

About 70,000 private employers are subject to the new requirement, which is expected to show how more than 54 million American workers are paid.

The disclosure requirement has been hotly contested, and it’s still not clear whether it will help to alleviate pay disparities.

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