As in 2021, the primary occupation in data journalism in 2022 is full-time employment at news companies or organisations (31%). Another consistency with last year’s results is that of a wide gap between full-time and part-time in employment contracts (a difference of 26 percentage-points), where the same difference is not found among freelancers (difference of 1 percentage-point). Although too small to imply significant differences, the 2022 sample includes more freelancers and full-time employees, and less students, editors, or educators.
As we break down occupation by gender, we find men overrepresenting Editor /Team Leading positions (10% as opposed to 8% in the overall dataset), while non-binary / genderqueer respondents are high among educators (19%) and retired data journalists (10%). Women are overrepresented in employment jobs (37%).
Students are by far the youngest in the industry (64% are under 34 years of age). On the opposite end, relatively few educators are under 45 years of age (42%), followed by editors and team leaders (50%). Full-time employers tend to be older than full-time freelancers, whereas among part-timers the trend is reversed.
In terms of within-country trends, the Netherlands tops the overrepresentation of full-time freelancers (27%), while Italy of part-time freelancers (19%). Brazil once again stands out for its share of educators, alongside Spain and India (24% respectively).
Looking at the geographical composition of different occupations instead, we find that more than 2 out of 10 full-time employees work in either the United States or the United Kingdom. The United States also has the most educators (16%), students (15%), and retired data journalists (24%). Germany is the number one country in terms of full-time freelancers (9%), followed by Italy (8%). Lastly, a high number of editors or team leads work in Nigeria (8%).
Years of experience
Around one in four people in data journalism have between three and five years of experience. While 38% of respondents have less than two years of experience in data journalism, 30% have instead six years or of experience. Nearly two in five have entered the industry in the last year.
Learning data journalism
When it comes to learning the profession, the most common means is self-learning through online resources (61%). Only just over one in five has been taught data journalism through higher education, surpassed by formal online education (one in four). More than half of respondents (56%) learn through more than one means.
Offline resources are particularly popular among retired data journalists, as well as those with more years of experience in the field. There is a positive correlation between higher education and workplace training and years of experience, whereas the pattern is not found with online resources. Not surprisingly, the biggest gap between employers and freelancers is found in workplace training, which has also been received by over half of retired data journalists and 29% of editors.
How many people are self-taught data journalism practitioners? We found that 35% of respondents have solely relied on self-learning (online or offline). These are overrepresented by freelancers, in comparison to students and employees.
A majority of the 2022 respondents provided information about their income (1695 out of 1751). Of those, the biggest group (64%) earns between $1 and $49 thousand dollars per year, regardless of occupation. Compared to last year, there has been a higher concentration of salaries in this group (a 6 percentage-point difference).
Full-time employment, education roles, and leading roles offer the highest compensation in the industry.
In terms of gender, women’s salaries are often clustered in the mid-low range, while men’s salaries are more spread out. Non-binary / genderqueer workers tend to have the highest earnings. Salaries also increase with company size.
Most data journalists work for one news organisation (46%). Overall, just over one in four works for two or more news organisations.
There is no clear distribution when it comes to the size of the company respondents operate in. Overall, the largest group (24%) works in companies of 500+ individuals, and the remainder of respondents are quite evenly spread out. Compared to last year, we have seen a 5 percentage-point decrease in the number of people working on their own, in favour of mid-size companies.