Inside the Australian and New Zealand book industry

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Australian publishing workers share salaries to promote wage transparency

A spreadsheet inviting Australian publishing workers to share their salaries is circulating on social media.

At the time of writing, 42 staff have entered information including their job title, wage, gender identity, ethnicity, years of experience, and previous positions and salaries.

Sarah Hollingsworth, the creator of the document, told Books+Publishing that in December 2019 she saw the US version of the spreadsheet and thought having an Australian version ‘would be helpful’. Hollingsworth, who works at Writers Victoria, was a Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA) union delegate at Hardie Grant last year, where she worked as part of a team to push for an Enterprise Bargaining Agreement (EBA) for the publishing house following the unionisation of Penguin Random House Australia (PRH) in October 2019.

The re-circulation of the Australian publishing wages document comes amid ongoing discussion in the UK publishing industry around low pay and lack of diversity.

‘For decades, the publishing industry has used the secrecy and avoidance of salary disclosure to their advantage,’ said Hollingsworth. ‘The lack of communication and transparency around pay has created a system in which low and unequal rates are the norm, and employees negotiating their salaries and fees have no comparisons by which to measure the suitability of their pay.

‘The only way we can move beyond this system and apply a fair standard is by becoming open, honest, and transparent about what employees are paid. I and many others want significant change to create a fairer, more equitable and diverse industry.’


Category: Local news