The State of News Media Jobs Today: Which Roles Are Most In Demand and What Do They Pay

Key Findings:

  • The most in-demand role news media companies are hiring for today is account executive, a sales role. This indicates the high demand for talent who are able to boost sales to enable these companies with the resources to continue reporting and producing the news.
  • Nearly half (44 percent) of our sample of news media reviews on Glassdoor report a negative business outlook, or that business will get worse over the next six months, representing the uncertainty employees in the industry are experiencing when it comes to the future of the companies they work for.
  • Reviews for a sample of news media employers consistently fall below the Glassdoor sitewide averages for overall satisfaction, culture and values, trust in senior leadership and career opportunities.

Today, the news media are under the microscope. Technology has disrupted how readers consume information and upended many traditional news sources. At the same time, the rise of social media and allegations of “fake news” have raised new questions about the future of media — and workers in this industry.

What is the state of hiring in the news media today? In this analysis, we gathered a sample of 85 news media companies, focusing on those with a digital, print, broadcast or radio emphasis. We then utilized Glassdoor’s unique jobs and salary data to take a deeper dive into today’s most in-demand media jobs and what these jobs pay. Finally, we leveraged Glassdoor’s company reviews data to measure how employees rate their experiences working with today’s media companies and what they think about the future outlook of their businesses.

What We Did

For this analysis, we used Glassdoor’s database of millions of job listings to look at all active, unique job postings on Glassdoor at news media companies as of August 10, 2018. We compiled a sample of 85 news media companies that includes digital-native, print-native, broadcast and radio news media employers. These companies represent a diverse range of employers, from local print newspapers to major news broadcast conglomerates. In order to identify the most common jobs that these employers are hiring for today and what cities they are hiring in, we looked at the most recent job listings data on Glassdoor.

Additionally, we utilized Glassdoor’s database of company reviews to compare how employees rate working at different media companies, focusing on the overall rating, culture and values rating, trust in senior leadership rating and career opportunities rating. We then compared our sample of news media companies against the average of all Glassdoor reviews for each rating.  Only employers with more than 20 reviews from the past three years, from 2015 to 2018, were included in our analysis.

Finally, for insight into expected salaries for current open positions in the media industry today, we examined salary data using the technology powering Glassdoor’s Know Your Worth tool to estimate the average base pay for the open media-related jobs highlighted in this report.  

Most In-Demand News Media Jobs

Our analysis of today’s open jobs in the media sector reveals a surprising fact. The most common open job at media companies today isn’t a traditional reporter or other news media role. It’s account executive, a sales position. Our data show 586 open jobs for account executive in our sample of media companies today, a role that pays an estimated $53,000 per year nationally.

The table below shows the 10 most common job listings on Glassdoor among the 85 news media employers described previously. The average base salary for these open job postings is also included.

In addition to account executive, there are two other sales roles in the rest of our top 10 list, account manager and sales manager. This emphasizes the demand for skilled sales professionals who can help drive revenue for these news media companies. All three of the sales positions on this list pay $53,000 or above, which is higher than all of the average base salaries for traditional newsroom positions on this list.

Another non-traditional role at news media companies is software engineer, confirming the need for news media companies to maintain and improve their digital platforms. The fact that software engineer is the fifth most in-demand job at news media companies showcases how technology has disrupted other industries, including the news media. This reflects big changes in digital media and the use of data in journalism today.

Reporter is the traditional news role with the most job openings at 318 openings, which is the second most in-demand open job at media companies today. Base pay for these roles is significantly below sales-related positions, paying an estimated $42,000 per year.

Overall, half of the top open job titles on this list are more traditional news jobs: reporter, news producer, photographer, producer and production assistant. Our data reveal hiring for these roles, which remain integral to the business of any news media employer, remain in-demand.

Among the most common media job openings highlighted above, software engineers earn the highest salary with an average of $93,900 at news media companies in this sample. The lowest paid traditional newsroom position is production assistant, which has an average base pay of $34,700, while the highest paid traditional newsroom role is producer, which has an average base pay of $52,700.

Where News Media Jobs Are Located

Where are most of the open jobs at news media companies located? The table below highlights the metro areas with the most job openings at news media companies. By far, New York City has the highest number of open positions, followed by Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. This list includes cities in diverse geographic regions across the country, including Seattle, Des Moines, Atlanta and Chicago.

What Does Employee Sentiment at News Media Companies Look Like?

Next, we look at how employees rate working at media companies on Glassdoor today. In order to balance having the most recent data and a high quantity of reviews, only news media companies from the sample with more than 20 reviews since 2015 were included in these analyses.

Overall, the average company rating on Glassdoor is a 3.4 out of 5 stars. By contrast, the average rating for media companies is substantially lower, at 2.9 stars. In addition to overall satisfaction, Glassdoor ratings also capture other factors such as culture and values, trust in senior leadership and career opportunities at news media companies. As shown in the chart below, across the board for each of these ratings, news media companies have lower scores. In particular, the trust in senior leadership rating for news media companies is only a 2.4, below the Glassdoor average of 3.1.

For today’s media companies, this below-average employee sentiment may be translating into recruiting and retention challenges. In a previous Glassdoor Economic Research study, we found that culture and values, trust in senior leadership and career opportunities matter the most when keeping employees satisfied in their jobs long-term. These are factors that employers should pay attention to if they are trying to improve overall employee satisfaction, which can help recruit and retain quality talent.

What do media employees today think about the business outlook at their employers over the next six months? The chart below shows the percent of reviews that rate business outlook as either getting better, getting worse or stay the same for our sample of news media companies and companies on Glassdoor overall.

The chart shows a dramatic disparity between the business outlook among media employers compared to the overall average on Glassdoor. While only 23 percent of reviews on Glassdoor overall report a negative business outlook, 44 percent of reviews at news media companies reported a negative business outlook — meaning they believe business will get worse in the next six months.

Similarly, 49 percent of company reviews overall on Glassdoor viewed business outlook as getting better, while only 27 percent of news media reviews reported a positive business outlook.

Today’s Highest Rated News Media Companies

While overall employee satisfaction at media companies is below average, there are a handful of companies that stand out as having above average employee satisfaction.

The table below shows the ten highest-ranked news media companies on Glassdoor, among our sample of 85 news media companies, based on reviews from 2015 to 2018. Overall, NPR had the highest average overall employee satisfaction with a Glassdoor rating with a 4.2 out of 5 stars. They were followed by WarnerMedia at a close second with 4.1 stars. These two employers were the only ones to rate above 4.0 in our sample.

Other media employers with above average employee satisfaction today include NBCUniversal with 3.9 stars and CNN with 3.8 stars. The Wall Street Journal, Turner Broadcasting, New York Times and the Washington Post all have 3.7 stars.

 

Conclusion

Based on a sample of news media companies on Glassdoor, we found that the sales role account executive is, in fact, the most in-demand job in the media industry, above traditional news roles like reporter and producer. We also found that nearly half (44 percent) of news media reviews report a negative business outlook, representing the uncertainty employees in the industry are experiencing when it comes to the future of the companies they work for. So what does this mean for the state of media today?  

First off, these findings showcase a dichotomy within the media industry. News reporting is designed to be unbiased and focused on presenting the facts. On the other hand, news companies are hungry for sales talent, requiring them to appeal to ad and partnership buyers, in order to sustain successful businesses. Thus, we are seeing an inherent conflict between what the media is designed to do, reporting unbiased facts, and the need to deliver clicks and make their buyers happy, which could be what is impacting media employees’ confidence in the performance of their companies in the long-run.

So what happens now? Reporters will continue to tell stories and media companies will continue to look for ways to help their businesses thrive — this isn’t going to change anytime soon. But an opportunity here to further establish positive relationships between employers and employees is to focus on improving the three factors that most impact employee satisfaction: culture and values, trust in senior leadership and career opportunities. We know that having a satisfied workforce can have a positive impact on a company’s bottom line, so these elements could help bridge gaps within the industry.