How much does copywriting cost? The 2017 survey results…

The 2017 Professional Copywriters’ Network survey was published last month and it reveals pay rates, earnings and a shocking 29% gender pay gap in the profession.Leif Kendall, Director of the Professional Copywriters’ Network, said: “This, our second annual survey, is a snapshot of the copywriting industry in 2017. It attempts to capture the experience of being a copywriter in the UK, in terms of job satisfaction, income and prospects.”


More than 500 copywriters who serve the UK market answered the Professional Copywriters’ Network (PCN) questions on demographics, training, pay, how they charge and the nature of their work. Respondents ranged in age from 20 to 75, with 58% of respondents female and 67% working in a freelance capacity.

One of the PCN’s aims in creating the survey is to help advise its member on rates of pay. The chart below shows average day rates for freelancers, which averages out as £339 per day. Although this is slightly elevated as most respondents were from London and the South-east, the regional ratings will give a lot of UK-sector copywriters food for thought when they come to charge out their work.



The data also revealed an average pay gap of 29% between men and women in copywriting – significantly higher than the 18% UK national average.


While the majority didn’t believe gender was a factor in their income or weren’t sure, 31% of female survey respondents did firmly blame the divide on gender whereas only 16% of men thought it was to blame.


Pay also rose with age and experience – in 2016, the PCN found that earnings peaked at age 49; in 2017, respondents aged 60+ have bucked the trend earning £48,733 on average.


Survey highlights

  • The average day rate for freelance copywriters is £339 
  • The difference between pay for men and women is 29%
  • 72% of copywriters charge per project, 68% charge a daily or hourly rate, only 7% charge per word
  • The average annual earnings for freelance copywriters was £36,012
  • Copywriters love copywriting – only 5% want to change careers
  • The highest-earning respondents left school with just their GCSEs suggesting that higher education is not essential for a copywriting career.


Client-side insight

The 2017 survey also looked at the client side for the first time ­and their experience of commissioning copy and working with copywriters. It seems that clients may need help when it comes to commissioning and reviewing copy, and this is something we’ll be looking at in a future post.

Firehead says…

CJ Walker, director and founder of Firehead, says: “We hire in both permanent and temporary contract copywriters regularly for clients in the UK and Europe, and rates do tend to reflect age and experience, as the survey shows. The pay gap is a wake-up call to both clients and candidates to make sure they are being treated equally on gender.

“I shall be attending the PCN Conference, which takes place this October in the UK, and look forward to meeting and discussing some of the employment issues and opportunities with copywriters in this market. Please do get in touch if you would like to meet.”

What do you think of these results?

Do you find them encouraging? Do they compare to your own experiences? Will they affect how you negotiate or charge from now on?

We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

Download the 2017 PCN Survey

For more information, the full PDF report is available for download here.

You can also read more on the results on the PCN blog: How much do freelance copywriters charge in 2017? And Why are female copywriters paid 29% less than men?

And here is an interview post from the 2016 ’s survey which raised the pay gap issue asking female copywriters for their insight: Female copywriters respond to copywriting’s gender pay gap.

(CC) All charts and data are the original creation of The Professional Copywriters’ Network and are licensed for re-use under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.