Record 84,000 journalists in the UK in 2016 according to Labour Force Survey (up 20,000 in a year)

The number of people who describe themselves as journalists or newspaper and periodical editors in the UK has increased from 64,000 to 84,000 in a year, according to data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

It is the highest total for journalists in the survey since 2001 (the earliest period for which online records are available).

The data is collected annually and relates to the period from April to June as part of the Labour Force Survey. The figures are estimates based on a sample of around 40,000 households and 100,000 individuals.

Most of the increase seems to come from self-employed journalists. The number of people describing themselves as self-employed journalists or newspaper or periodical editors increased from 18,000 in 2015 to 34,000 in 2016.

The number of people describing themselves as employees in this category increased from 45,000 to 47,000.

The data also shows that the number describing themselves as public relations professionals has dropped over the past year, from 55,000 to 49,000. This comes after a steady increase since 2008, when there were 27,000.

According to the ONS, there has been no change in survey methodology over the last year which could explain the sharp increase in the number describing themselves as journalists.


Beth Brewster, head of journalism at Kingston University, told said that the number of journalism graduates from her department employed in the industry has gone up each year over the last four years.

In 2015, 72 per cent of the graduating cohort got jobs in journalism, content, communications, PR and other media, while about a third of the whole cohort went into journalism itself.

Brewster said: “This year the number of graduates getting jobs as journalists is even higher. Of the graduates from July 2016 52 per cent of the graduating cohort have secured jobs in journalism.”

She added: “There are fewer taking jobs at local newspapers but more getting jobs on nationals (probably due to the growth of their online platforms).

“There are new types of journalism job in social media and in customer publishing. There seem to be consistent numbers of graduates getting jobs on magazines and in broadcast journalism.”

Full data for the UK Labour Force Survey.

Picture: Shutterstock


4 thoughts on “Record 84,000 journalists in the UK in 2016 according to Labour Force Survey (up 20,000 in a year)”

  1. Although the Labour Force Survey (LFS) does sample a large number of individuals, because it samples the entire workforce, the number of journalists sampled each quarter is low (about 100). This means the data is rather unreliable (technically the confidence interval is 10 at a confidence level of 95%). As a result I would be extremely cautious about using the data to extrapolate short-term changes the total number of journalists in the UK.

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