Magazine editors play a key role in the day-to-day operations of managing a magazine company. They manage the editorial staff and oversee the entire editorial operation. Given their importance role, they earn a competitive wage. Most editors receive a set salary for their work rather than an hourly pay rate. Salaries vary based on a number of factors.
The average salary of a magazine editor depends greatly on the type of publication. According to PayScale.com, most magazine editors earn between £25,350 and £46,150 per year. Editors for fashion and industry association magazines earn about the same amount. The exact salary also depends largely on the type of editor. Managing editors generally earn the most of any type of editor. According to PayScale.com, an editor in chief earns an average of £32,500 to £59,800 per year. Associate editors and senior editors usually earn slightly less than managing editors. PayScale.com puts their average salary at between £24,050 and £33,800. Copy editors, who generally are only employed at larger magazines, earn the least of the three types of editors.
The size of a magazine plays a key part in determining how much the editor or editors at that magazine earn per year. Size is generally measured in terms of circulation, but some smaller magazines might pay more if they are known for strong advertising revenue or subscription sales revenue. Some magazines do not charge for subscriptions, and they usually do not pay well, either.
Magazines with large circulation often pay editors the most. These are the magazines that are most likely to pay employees more than £39,000 per year. In fact, the largest publications, such as Time, Sports Illustrated and Newsweek, regularly pay editors more than £65,000 per year. Smaller publications, which often serve a niche market, are most likely to pay an editor less. Some pay as little as £16,250 with an average salary being about £26,000.
Where an editor works can impact how much that editor earns per year. In New York, many trade magazine editors earn more than £52,000 per year, and editors at major news magazines can earn more than £97,500 per year. In rural parts of the country, however, editors earn less. These variations are tied more to the cost of living than to any specific correlation between population and salary requirements. According to PayScale.com, the highest-paying magazine editor jobs are those in New York City, Chicago and Los Angeles. According to New York Magazine, James Kelly, the managine editor of Time in 2005, earned £0.7 million per year.
Magazine editor pay has increased substantially since the early 20th century, when major magazines began to prosper in the United States. The number of editors per publication also increased. On average, magazine editor salaries in 2010 are approximately 30 per cent greater than the average salary for the same job in the early part of the 1980s.
Many factors determine how much an editor earns. A key factor is longevity. Editors earn more as they receive raises over the life of their careers. Pay is commensurate with experience and the number of a years a person has spent with a particular magazine company. Entry-level editors earn less than editors with years under their belts. Sex also plays a part. According to PayScale.com, male editors earn slightly more, on average, than female editors. At the high end, the difference is about £58,500 per year for male editors and about £52,000 a year for female editors.
The salary of a magazine editor does not provide a full accounting of her compensation. Some editors receive bonuses, a share in profits or commissions. Commissions often depend on sales. Bonuses often depend on easily identifiable quality standards. Editors who earn profit sharing usually are those at larger publications, and they usually earn greater salaries than other editors.