What careers come next for the UK’s laid off journalists?

What comes after journalism?
Nearly a third of journalism jobs have been cut in the last ten years according to a study by University of Central Lancashire journalism researcher François Nel. Out of those journalists interviewed, most were laid off in the past two years, with the highest peak of lay-offs in the latter half of 2009.

At the time of the research, less than a quarter of those laid off had succeeded in finding a full-time job. One fifth had found part-time work, while 42 per cent were still looking. A minority (almost 15 per cent) said they were doing something else.

Responses indicate that few were able to continue as full-time journalists, with just 18 per cent of respondents landing full-time positions in the industry. However, journalism is still the preferred profession, as apart from those who secured full-time jobs, 30 per cent became part-time journalists. Of those who chose to move into other professions, 18 per cent have moved into PR and marketing and 8 per cent into teaching.

Discussing the findings of the report, Nel says: “These have been bruising times for those who work in the newspaper industry – and, more specifically, for those who have been forced out.” Nel adds that the stories uncovered by the report are sobering, with journalists describing their money and career worries following losing their jobs, although others did see losing their jobs as a chance to move on and change direction. Nel concludes: “Whatever their experiences, whatever their prospects, most agreed on this: it had been a road worth travelling. When asked if they would do it all again, nearly 70 per cent said they would still have chosen journalism as a career – even if they had known what would happen to the industry.”


To ascertain how many journalists have been laid off, researchers analysed the annual reports from the Newspaper Society, records kept online by the National Union of Journalists and reports on job cuts and layoffs published between 2007 and June 2010 on three UK trade news sites: Journalism.co.uk, PaidContent:UK and Press Gazette. These figures were compared with those of the Labour Force Survey 2001. An online questionnaire to journalists obtained valid responses from 144 respondents from November 2009 to January 2010.

Further information

François Nel is director of the Journalism Leaders Programme at the University of Central Lancashire and can be reached on Twitter @francoisnel or links from http://www.ukjournalism.co.uk. The report Laid Off, can be seen here http://www.journalism.co.uk/uploads/laidoffreport.pdf