Inside the Australian and New Zealand book industry

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UK publishing staff report stress, burnout

A survey by the Bookseller has found the UK publishing trade is facing ‘industry-wide burnout’, with nearly nine out of 10 (89%) respondents having experienced work-related stress over the past year and 69% reporting burnout.

The survey, which had more than 230 respondents, primarily from publishing staff (87%), also found 64% of people working in the industry felt their work had affected their mental health in the past year. This was attributed to unsustainable workloads and an ‘always on’ culture worsened by the pandemic.

Of the respondents, 63% worked more than their contracted hours each week, 73% said their workload had increased in the past year, 37% were not satisfied with their work-life balance and 38% of respondents wanted to leave their job.

The majority of respondents (67%) said they felt supported by their manager but that little could be done to change their heavy workloads. One assistant editor noted: ‘There is an expectation from senior leadership that the company will continue to buy more and more books, but no corresponding communication re hiring more staff to help with this. People have been stretched beyond their limits over the last two years particularly and that’s why we’re seeing a mass exodus from the industry.’

Similarly, a marketing executive said: ‘There’s been a huge change in focus over the past two years, driven by the pandemic, to look at backlist titles and perennial sellers as well as more focus on e-books and audio, but the expectation that teams can do that on top of their pre-existing workload is going to lead to workforce-wide burnout.’

The Bookseller will follow up on the survey findings on pay and the cost-of-living crisis later this week.


Category: International news