Working in publishing with GCSEs (or similar)

Publishing is a very competitive industry. Most people applying for jobs will have a degree.

You might find it hard to get in with just GCSEs or similar. However, with good GCSEs (or similar), especially in English and maths, you might be taken on in administration, operations or production roles. Relevant work experience or voluntary work could help you prove what skills you have and help you to get a first job.

Example jobs

Administrative assistant

Helps keep paperwork organised, takes messages, photocopies. Could lead on to proofreading and editing opportunities through internal promotion.

Print production assistant or trainee

Supports the printing and binding of the final book or magazine, and its distribution.

Approximate pay levels

Figures supplied as a guide only

It may be difficult to find work in this industry without a degree.

However, jobs in administration or production may be open to you. You will need to start at the bottom. Salaries will increase as you gain experience.

Pay levels graph

Typical working conditions

  • You are likely to work in an office, at a computer.
  • The office will usually be busy.
  • Working hours are usually 9am to 5pm.
  • Most publishers do not mind you wearing smart-casual clothes.

Qualifications needed

  • Good GCSEs and strong literacy and numeracy skills are very important to get a job in publishing.
  • However, you will be competing for jobs with people who have A levels and degrees.
  • If you want to work on the planning and producing of books, magazines, etc., it is a good idea to think about going to university.

Career path

  • If you are lucky enough to get into publishing with just good GCSEs, you may find that progress is slow.
  • Your employer may offer you further training. Or you might want to consider doing a university course to go further in your career.
  • Alternatively you could train to improve your copyediting and proofreading skills.

Useful links

Pearson is not responsible for content on external websites.

Creative Skillset: careers in publishing

Information about working in publishing

National Careers Service

Find out about careers in publishing

British Printing Industries Federation

Information about careers in printing