Careers in Publishing

At Inspired Selection, we are passionate about helping our candidates with their long-term career; not just their next step. If you are considering a role in publishing, read our following quick guide to learn more about the career and which path is right for you.


Publishing companies differ from sector to sector. They vary from big corporate powerhouses that come with a fantastic list of benefits, to smaller, more agile organisations, maybe even a start-up, that enable learning and development to happen quickly; it is important to think about the different types of employer and the working environment that best matches with your career aspirations.

Location is also a big factor to consider. Many publishing companies are headquartered in hubs, such as London, Oxford, Cambridge and across the South East of England, however there are also a great number of companies scattered across the country and internationally. Flexible or remote working may also be something you can consider, or you might be looking for part-time, temporary or contract work; employers can adapt the job types in order to suit the right candidate. 

Publishing Sectors

There are four main publishing sectors that we work across:

  • Academic university presses, academic book and journal publishers, publishers of digital archives and courseware, learned and scientific societies and institutions, Open Science and Open Research publishers, library suppliers and distributors, medcomms and scientific communications departments with a range of organisations. 
  • Professional - membership bodies, B2B publishers, Charities, NGOs, publishing services, distributors, digital agencies, pr agencies, marketing agencies, financial institutions, legal institutions, professional services
  • Educational - Schools publishers, higher educational publishers, edtech companies, 
  • Trade - Adults fiction and non-fiction, children's publishing, consumer publishing 

Examples of the type of job roles in each area include: a Head of Open Access Publishing for a Scholarly publisher, an Educational Sales Consultant for a textbook publisher, a Programme Manager for a professional membership organisation, a Fiction Editor for a Children’s book publisher, or a Journals Marketing Manager in Scientific publishing. Other positions might be in Publicity, Production, Foreign Rights, Contracts, Account Management, Sales, Editorial, Marketing, Digital Project Management, Design, and much more, ranging from entry-level, right up to senior director level roles.

Candidate Attributes

The ever-changing publishing landscape makes it a fast-paced and exciting place to work, where departments, and job roles, are intertwined and communication is key. Publishing companies are constantly innovating to stay ahead of the market and respond quickly to consumer demands, enabling for new ideas and creativity to be crucial attributes for anyone joining the industry.

The key attributes of someone first entering into publishing might include: strong communication, high-level organisation skills, great enthusiasm for working in a publishing business, and in some cases, such as scientific publishing, a relevant science degree can be advantageous. 

Transferable experience might include time in an office, administrative role, or working previously as an assistant or in a customer service position.

Entry Routes

There are various entry routes into publishing, such as temporary, graduate, freelance, contract or part-time positions.

Work experience can also be an excellent way to get a good grounding for the area of publishing in which you want to work, and decide the discipline that best suits you. It offers great benefits, including: making contacts, potential for permanent employment, experience on your CV, and can be a good way to demonstrate your enthusiasm for wanting to work in publishing.

Networking events and attending relevant conferences can also be an excellent way to meet publishing professionals and explore the options available to you. Here’s a few organisations whose events we enjoy attending:

Next Steps

If you are looking for your first job in publishing or exploring the opportunities available to you to take the next step in your career, then do get in touch to arrange a registration meeting with one of our team of specialist publishing consultants. This can take place either face-to-face at our London office (London Bridge) or our Oxford office, alternatively we can arrange to register you with us via telephone or Skype. In the meantime, feel free to browse the roles we currently have available, and sign up here for the job vacancy email alerts to keep abreast of any new roles suited to what you’re looking for.

Visit the Why Register With Us page to find out more about the benefits of registering with us and how we can help you to find you the right job that best matches your career aspirations.