Average salaries for journalists have fallen in real terms over the last 10 years according to a major survey on the state of the workplace released today.
The National Council for the Training of Journalists has published the results of its independent survey Journalists at Work carried out last year.
It reveals that the average salaries for journalists have risen from £22,500 in 2002 to £27,500 in 2012.
However allowing for 36pc inflation during the same period, the results suggests that journalists have suffered a real terms decrease in salary of 12pc. Other occupations on average have seen an 8pc decrease.
The survey also reveals that less than half of all journalists would advise a young person to go into the profession today.
And it shows that while 39pc of journalists feel they are rewarded fairly for their work, 60pc feel they are not so – a substantial change on 2002 when 50pc believed that they were fairly rewarded.
Writing in the foreword to the report, Cardiff University journalism professor Ian Hargreaves said: “During the decade between the two surveys, the pay of journalists has fallen behind general inflation and behind the overall level of pay inflation in the UK.
“This weakness in journalists’ pay reflects primarily conditions in newspaper journalism. Broadcast salaries are higher
and have not fallen behind.
“We find no evidence of any dramatic fall in the number of people working as journalists, but we also find that journalists increasingly work in hybrid situations, combining professional journalism work with other activities to which the skills of journalism are relevant.
“Journalists are also very well educated. Some 82pc have a degree and more than a third have a post-graduate qualification. Our survey tells you which subjects they are most likely to have studied at university.”
Other key findings from the report include:
- There are around 60,000 journalists in the UK, a slight reduction from 2002
- Despite its recent difficulties, the newspaper sector still employs the highest proportion of journalists, at 24%
- A high proportion of journalists feel that changes in the industry have led to pressures to be multi-skilled, to produce output for a more diverse range of platforms, and to cope with increased work intensity
- An increasing proportion of journalists hold a relevant journalism qualification – 63pc in 2012 compared to 58pc in 2002.
- The most common journalism qualification is the NCTJ’s National Certificate Examination, which accounts for 73pc of the qualifications.
- 83pc of journalists did work experience before gaining their first paid job.
- The proportion of journalists who are confident about the future of journalism as a profession (38pc) is outweighed by those who are not confident (42pc).
- 22pc of journalists believe that they have been discriminated against at work – an increase on the 17pc in 2002.
More than 1,000 journalists took part in the survey, which aimed to provide a comprehensive demographic profile of the journalism industry.
It was designed as a follow-up to the Journalists at Work survey 2002, published by the former National Training Organisations.
Joanne Butcher, NCTJ chief executive, said: “We commissioned this independent research to better understand the changes taking place in journalism, so we would be in a good position to meet the training demands of the industry.
“We have updated and extended the original survey to take into account the most pressing issues facing journalism today, and we believe the report provides a revealing snapshot of the industry and practising journalists. It should also act as an impetus to the industry to ensure journalists are given the training and support necessary to do their jobs.”
Ian, who chaired the research project, added: “We should be grateful to the NCTJ for its commitment to leading this research after what has been the most turbulent decade for the UK news industry in a century.
“The need for clear thinking about training, skills and professional standards in journalism has never been greater. Without strong, well resourced, well managed and appropriately regulated news media, our democratic way of life is threatened.”