Number of UK journalists climbs to 73,000 but fewer work in newspapers and magazines, major new survey shows

The number of journalists working in the UK has risen by 12 per cent over six years to 73,000, according to a major new survey carried out by the National Council for the Training of Journalists.

The rise is said to have been boosted by a move away from “mainstream publishing areas” – namely newspapers and magazines – where staff numbers are being cut and circulations are falling.

Less than a third (30 per cent) of 885 journalists who responded to the Journalists At Work survey said they work for newspapers or magazines, down 15 per cent since 2012 when the survey was last carried out.

The number of broadcasters has increased along with those declaring themselves self-employed and those now working in PR and communications, the survey shows.

But, the report said: “The extent to which all these individuals can be classed as ‘journalists’ is a matter of some debate.”

Nearly two-thirds of journalists in the UK are employed in London and the South East.

Print remains the main platform for 45 per cent of the journalists surveyed, with 36 per cent mainly developing content for an online/digital platform.

The Journalists At Work survey, which also draws on data from the Office of National Statistics and Labour Force Survey, has been published every ten years since 2002.

Its publication was brought forward early because of the drastic changes taking place in the news industry. NCTJ chief executive Joanne Butcher said: “…with so much transforming the work of modern journalists we simply couldn’t afford to wait that long to compare the results.”

The online questionnaire was based largely on that used in 2002 and 2012 research, updated where necessary and with some new questions added.

In the survey’s other findings:

  • The average salary for a journalist is £27,500 – the same as in 2012, “suggesting that… in real terms, journalists’ wages have declined”
  • A journalist works on average 40.7 hours per week, compared with 31.8 hours across all jobs in the UK economy. That’s down nearly an hour since 2002, with the change put down to an increase in part-time working.
  • 45 per cent of journalists surveyed are confident about the future of journalism as a profession vs 34 per cent who are not confident – a change
    since 2012 when those feeling negative outweighed those who felt positive
  • 62 per cent would be willing to advise a young person to become a journalist, an increase from 51 per cent in 2012
  • 18 per cent of journalists believe that they have been discriminated against at work – a decrease on 22 per cent in 2002.
  • Journalists are older than the UK workforce as a whole – five per cent are under 25 compared with 12 per cent for the whole UK workforce
  • Journalists are less ethnically diverse than the workforce as a whole – 90 per cent are white compared with 88 per cent overall.
  • The majority of journalists (74 per cent) feel that they have sufficient training in ethical issues, with only five per cent not in agreement.

Read the full Journalists At Work survey.

Picture: Pixabay

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