Media investment translates to journalism roles with all-time high newsrooms figures

Published: 12 November 2021

London, UK - 2019: Broadcasting House, the BBC office, interior.

Stats from the latest UK ONS labour market stats suggest that media's hiring boom last year was no blip, as the number of journalists and editors in work has soared past the 100,000 mark to reach an all-time high.

Year-on-year to July 2021, there was a 36% increase in the total number of journalists and editors in employment in the UK, to 112,400, continuing a surge seen in the second half of last year to get newsrooms and media positions filled as lockdowns started to end.

While there were some high profile cutbacks at individual publishers and titles last year, as a whole the sector seems to be growing quickly with digital news coverage playing its part. With record consumption of content comes record numbers of those who are making it.

The rise is not to be written off as a post-lockdown bounceback to normal numbers: the 10-year average for 2010-2020 was around 73,000, so the leap to 112,400 is unprecedented and far in excess of any previous ONS figures for the category.

Commenting on the figures, Glide's Rich Fairbairn said: "We saw some worrying closures and layoffs last year as some titles struggled during the worst of the lockdowns and footfall in shops was at its lowest. 

"While the shape of some newsrooms is changing, we all know you need people to make content. You can't 'share' your way out of a hole if you are not actually creating anything to begin with and while content is being consumed in record volumes it is pleasing to see that is leading to fuller newsrooms and new roles.

"It's still a period of volatility for publishers. For example, for a large publisher a 3-4% swing in newsprint costs could pay for an entire digital operation - and in the last year the price of newsprint has been rocketing, with some publishers seeing more than 40% increases in print costs.

"Against this background, and a much greater understanding and sophistication in media businesses about how to turn digital content into revenue, then if you can reliably equate new people in an editorial team to growing revenue, it's an easy decision to make: let's hire."