Publishing job roles span the media industry in books, newspapers and magazines, business media and journals. New multi-media formats ensure the industry and job roles are ever-changing.

Publishing is a competitive industry with few advertised entry level positions.  Employees gain work through recent work experience placements, graduate training schemes and word of mouth recommendations and networking.

Useful Information

Routes in

Graduate training schemes

  • Harper Collins - Harper Collins is one of the world's foremost English-language publishers. Their next bi-annual graduate training scheme will begin in 2012; details will be updated on their website. In the mean time attend their open day to apply for graduate level vacancies.


  • Profile Books - this business book publisher offers eight week internships for graduates within the publicity, sales, marketing and editorial teams.

Networking and research

Networking is crucial to career development in this industry and you should get to know the market place. Learn and research how books, newspapers and magazines are publicised, find out about company trading figures in The Bookseller and see what’s on the bestseller lists, and join The Society of Young Publishers (SYP) or Women in Publishing as a student member.

Work experience

Work experience can be the key to finding paid work in this industry and can be a great way to make useful contacts, as many employers prefer candidates to have at least some practical experience of working within the industry. Start writing for The Beaver or The Penguin to build up a portfolio of published articles.

Alternatively, start your own blog to demonstrate your interests, writing skills and commitment to the sector, ensuring you have a strong online presence. Work experience opportunities are rarely advertised, so contact companies directly to find out if they are available. Speculative applications can be successful.

Research organisations you would like to work for, and email the head of the department, asking if work experience is on offer. Publisher’s addresses are listed in The Writer’s and Artist’s Yearbook which can be found in LSE Careers resource library. When applying speculatively, carefully consider what area of publishing would interest you and make sure this really comes across to employers.

The following publishing companies have work experience opportunities:

  • Bloomsbury - offers a popular two to three week loosly structured work experience programme. Apply now, but expect to wait six months for a placement.
  • Harper Collins - work experience is offered when the compan's needs demand it. Applicants will be contacted if their work experience preferences can be met.
  • Hachette UK - the companies within Hachette offer unpaid work experience from time to time.
  • Legend Press - offering two weeks work experience covering a wide range of areas including editing, sales, media and marketing.
  • Penguin - offers two week work experience placements.
  • Random House - unpaid work experience students accepted normally for two weeks within editorial, publicity and marketing.
  • Taylor and Francis - offer placements throughout the year, see their website for contact details.

Job roles

The publishing industry has a hierarchy of job roles, but it takes determination and hard work to progress. The average earnings for an editor can range from £20,000 for an assistant editor to £30,000 for a senior editor. Publishing companies are generally divided by function, with each department responsible for a process. Areas of work can be technical, creative or administrative.

Within book publishing, the role of editor is often seen as the top job. In magazines and newspapers, there is usually an executive publisher who is senior to the editorial director. Editors have the job of commissioning authors and writers, copy-editing, proofreading and they are often responsible for overall content of the finished product.

There are also roles in marketing and publicity including PR, events and promotions. The production and design team ensure the product is produced on time and within budget and are responsible for the visual look of the book, magazine or journal. The top advertising roles in magazines and journals are also well paid with additional jobs in circulation and subscriptions.

The links below take you to job role descriptions on Target Jobs and Prospects websites. Target Jobs is the UK's largest source of graduate jobs, employers and internships and Prospects is the UK's official graduate careers site.

The following list contains examples of roles within publishing:

Commissioning editor

Discovers and identifies writers and products to publish to build the company portfolio, also ensures writers work to and meet deadlines. For further information see Commissioning editor.

Editorial assistant

Learns the industry by working closely with senior colleagues, helping in the commissioning and publishing of books, magazines and journals. For further information read Prospects; Editorial assistant. Video on You Tube outlining the job role of an Editorial assistant at Bloomsbury.

Publishing copy-editor / Proof-reader

Ensures content is easy to read, makes sense, is technically accurate and grammatically correct. Information available on Prospects, Publishing copy-editor/proof-reader.

Press sub-editor

Working for newspapers sub-editors ensure the accuracy of content and ensure the layout is in keeping with the company brand. Press sub-editor information can be found on Prospects.

Publishing rights manager

Ensures publications make a profit and oversees and manages publishing rights. More information on Publishing rights manager can be found on Prospects.