More Progress Needed In Eliminating Pay Disparities

In a detailed analysis of a snapshot of pay data from April 2018 for 913 full-time employees of The New York Times who are members of the NewsGuild, the Guild found salary gaps for women and people of color in some areas of the newsroom and the business side.

The disparities appear to be largely driven by the fact that white employees and men occupied a disproportionate share of the highest-paying roles. Among employees with annual salaries ranking in the top 20 percent ($140,000 or more), more than 60 percent were men. More than 80 percent were white. 

The Times published a study of its own today that encompasses Guild and non-Guild employees with more recent data. Both studies show that the Times has made improvements in the recent hiring of women and minorities, and in closing the pay gap for new hires. The Guild study, completed by CWA's research department and several reporters and graphic editors at The Times, shows that among employees hired between 2013-2018, 54 percent were women and 30 percent were people of color. Another sign of progress: The median salary for recent male hires was only 1.1 percent higher than the median salary for recent female hires. As of April 2018, 49 percent of Times employees had been hired between 2013 and 2018.

But across the newsroom and business side, the typical woman earns 6 percent less than the typical man (approximately $7,000 annually). And the typical employee of color earns 8 percent less than the typical white employee. Over just a few years that difference can amount to a sizable sum. Women and people of color are significantly underrepresented in the most highly compensated reporting and editing roles in the newsroom. They also tend to be younger, thanks to the recent push to diversify the company. Both factors help drive the overall pay disparities. 

The Guild study included employees who identified as African-American, Hispanic and Asian in its count of people of color, but didn’t break out each demographic because numbers were small, an indication of how far The Times still had to go on its diversity efforts as of  2018. Of 284 reporters in the Guild, for example, only 18 were black, 11 were Hispanic, 19 were Asian, and 8 identified as being members of two or more groups. This, in itself, makes a statement.

The Guild looks forward to continuing to work with management representatives to ensure that we have a diverse and equitably paid staff. We also want to be a resource for our members to provide assistance to them in navigating the issue of fair pay.  If you are a Guild member interested in learning about pay equity in your department or job category, please contact a Guild representative at for more information.

Findings of the study

Note: All salary figures in this report are for full-time, permanent employees.

In the newsroom

  • Overall, median pay for women was $10,000 less per year than for men, meaning women earned roughly 92 percent of what men earned. 
  • Median pay for people of color was about $10,000 less than for white employees, roughly 92 percent of what white workers earned. 
  • The three areas of the newsroom with the highest median pay —Investigations, the Washington Bureau and Culture  —  were overwhelmingly white and, with the exception of Investigations, mostly male. 
  • In some positions, there is a “loyalty penalty,” in which Guild members who have been with the company longer are paid less than members with similar roles and levels of experience who have joined the staff more recently. Among reporters, every year spent with the company costs roughly an extra 1% in salary compared to colleagues of a similar age. The effect is especially acute for women.
  • Median salaries for female reporters and news assistants were equal to those of men. For female reporters with 16+ years of experience, median pay was about $4,000 less than that of male reporters with comparable experience.

  • Median salaries for black and Hispanic reporters were $7,500 lower than for white reporters, a gap of roughly 5 percent. 
  • The most substantial gender gaps in pay by desk were in the Washington Bureau (where women’s median wage was 84% of men’s), Culture (85%) and Metro (88%). 
  •  There were similar patterns in pay gaps by race, but the small number of people of color in many departments made it impossible to release detailed figures without compromising confidentiality.
  • Some of the highest-paying desks were disproportionately white. White employees made up 91 percent of Investigations, 87 percent of the Washington Bureau and 83 percent of Culture. Though women slightly outnumbered men on the Investigations desk, 57 percent of the Washington Bureau and 62 percent of the Culture desk were men.

How We Got Here

In our first opportunity to take advantage of utilizing the labor-management forum since negotiating it in November 2017, the Guild’s committee met with The Times’ management team on two occasions to discuss this pay study. At the first meeting on March 18, 2019, the Guild presented the study and ended the meeting with a series of requests: that The Times would collaborate annually on a wage study with the Guild; that the company would provide data that would allow us to enrich the report with employees’ experience and education levels; that The Times would take steps to hire/promote more diverse groups and commit to a measure of improvement by April 2020; and that the Times would review salaries of employees hired during the period of recession and economic instability (2008–2014) for pay disparities that requires eliminating what we call the “loyalty penalty.”

At a recent follow-up meeting with management, The Times responded to some of our inquiries but did not grant all of our requests. Managers explained that the “compensation team” works under the umbrella of Talent and Inclusion to determine pay levels. Asked how the compensation team might correct anomalies in pay, management representatives  described a typical example of an employee who had determined he or she was being underpaid: A comp department representative would examine the employee’s salary and compare it to the median salary for that job title in the department. The compensation staff member would then determine how much it would cost to hire a new employee in the role, and, based on that information, adjust the pay of the employee in question to within 15% of the median salary.

The Times also responded to our request that managers review salaries of employees hired during the period of the recession by sharing confidential data that applied to one desk and did not address our concerns. The data showed minimum, maximum and median pay distribution by years of service, and found that longer-serving employees earned as much or more on average as more recent hires. But our conclusion was that there is a penalty after controlling for experience: That is, that if there are two people with 15 years of experience, and one person has been at the Times their whole career, and the other joined after a decade elsewhere, that the more recent hire is likely to be paid more. We do not believe their example addressed the issue we raised.

While the Guild’s 2016 wage study was criticized by management when it was released for not having data on employees’ work experience and education levels, the company said it could still not provide this information. We are hopeful that the company will be in a better position to answer these questions for future studies.

How Pay is Distributed

  • Half of all employees made between $102,000 and $135,000 annually
  • But there is a long tail among higher salaries
  • The distribution is bimodal, with the lower hump driven by news assistants

How Pay is Distributed, by Gender

  • Across the newsroom and business side, the typical woman makes$7,000 less than the typical man. Women’s earnings are more tightly clustered at around $100,000 to $120,000.

The Composition of the Company, by Age

  • The age distribution of the company’s union membership skews younger.
  • Women are over-represented among younger employees and under-represented among older employees. 

The Composition of the Company, by Age and Tenure

  • A large proportion of the staff under 45 was hired between 2013 and 2018. A relatively small proportion of the staff 45 and over was hired between 2013 and 2018.