Differences in pay by gender in the Forbes newsroom also show no improvement from 2023 study by The NewsGuild of New York


NEW YORK – Unionized journalists of color at Forbes magazine continue to be paid less than their white counterparts – and that divide has widened, according to a new study by Forbes Union and The NewsGuild of New York. 

In its second year analyzing newsroom worker data, the Forbes Union’s pay equity study looked at the earnings of 111 unionized editorial employees at the business publication and compared those numbers to last year’s review of salaries.

Among the takeaways:

  • The racial pay gap at Forbes continues to widen. The unit’s 70 white full-time members make $95,879 on average, about $24,000 more than the eight Black unit members, $20,000 more than the 11 Asian staffers and $15,000 more than the unit’s eight Hispanic or Latino staffers. 
  • That is a wider gap than our study last year, when the unit’s 61 white full-time members made $94,360 on average, almost $15,000 more than the eight Black members and $7,000 more than the 10 Asian members. The average for the six Hispanic or Latino staffers was $99,750.
  • Men in our bargaining unit continue to earn more than women. Male journalists at Forbes make about 10k more than female journalists.  Men average $96,541 a year, while women make $86,457. That difference of $10,083 is only slightly less than the $11,300 pay gap calculated in our 2023 pay equity study.
  • Differences remain at the top. For senior editors, the gender pay gap is $17,000. The longer staffers stay at Forbes, the wider the pay gap is, due to smaller and less frequent raises for women.

“Forbes management wants to continue pretending that pay equity is just an issue at other companies,” said Andrea Murphy, unit chair for Forbes Union and a statistics editor for the magazine.

Case in point: The company had planned its annual Equal Pay Forum for March 26 featuring pay equity trailblazers and retired professional athletes Megan Rapinoe and Sue Bird as well as entrepreneur Suneera Madhani and current CEO of the Obama Foundation Valerie Jarrett.

Forbes Union took to social media, tagging the speakers and noting the hypocrisy of an event celebrating pay equity hosted by a media company where pay inequity is systemic. Some speakers were also notified of the union’s intent to protest outside the event. 

Hours before the event, the webpage vanished from the company’s website. References to the event were scrubbed from Forbes.com and no further promotions were posted to social media. 

Along with the issue of pay, Forbes’ unionized workforce continues to also lack diversity. 

  • 10% of the Forbes Union identifies as Asian (10% last year),
  • 7% as Black or African American (8% last year),
  • 7% as Hispanic or Latino (6% last year), 
  • 4.5% as two or more races (not Hispanic or Latino) (6% last year)
  • 8% did not disclose their race or ethnic background.

The Forbes Union organized with The NewsGuild of New York in 2021. For more than two years workers have been fighting for a first contract, only to be met with tired, union-busting tactics by Forbes management. 

“The chronic racial and gender pay disparity at Forbes can be easily fixed,” said Susan DeCarava, president of The NewsGuild of New York. “Management needs to stop pretending pay inequity at Forbes doesn’t exist and instead agree with the Guild on economic terms that build equity and enshrine fair pay for all.”

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