HR Study 2010

> HR Trends and Issues

Writing and Publishing - Highlights

Purchase all three documents that make up HR Study 2010 in a printable electronic format

The HR Study 2010 package contains: HR Trends and Issues, Labour Market Information for Canada's Cultural Sector and The Effect of the Global Economic Recession on Canada's Creative Economy in 2009.

Fast Facts

The real value added output (GDP) for books and periodicals in 2009 was estimated to be $8.4 billion.
Canadian consumer spending on books and periodicals was $4.7 billion in 2008.
Exports in 2008 totalled $628 million.
Total federal government support for the literary arts was $134 million for 2007/08.
In the books and periodicals industry, there were 5,396 establishments registered in 2009, six of which were large, 36 of which were medium-sized, 373 of which were small and 1,380 of which were micro-sized.

Major issues

Technological change

Technological changes are the top issue in the subsector as measured by responses to the survey. New opportunities arising from technological advances have brought about increased competition in certain types of print media and the expansion of online publishing. Consumers can now access written material online, often for free. This has the effect of driving down consumer spending in the writing and publishing subsector. This trend also threatens advertising. With reduced readership, advertising revenues are diminishing proportionately.

Intellectual Property

Digital distribution has had a dramatic impact on the management of intellectual property rights. Writing and publishing companies must effectively manage the dissemination of intellectual property while simultaneously ensuring the appropriate valuation of content.

Changing Business Models

In the face of technological changes and the globalization of markets, the writing and publishing subsector is adapting by creating new business models. For example, many publishing companies have moved their products online. At the same time, reduced advertising revenues are forcing companies to seek alternate revenue streams and limit their spending on content creation.

It is becoming increasingly difficult for workers to find employment as in-house writers, editors and publishers. Workers are looking to new opportunities and markets in order to find work as freelancers. However, moving to self-employment in the writing and publishing subsector requires an understanding of how to establish an entrepreneurial business model.

Training needs

New skill sets, such as ICT and web-based marketing skills, are needed to find and capitalize on new revenue streams. Technological literacy is now essential for everything from marketing to copyediting to navigating social networking sites. Self-employed workers sometimes lack the skills to address copyright, intellectual property, time management and marketing issues.


Globalization is often viewed as an opportunity.

Low and unstable income

Insufficient and unstable earnings are on the list of top concerns for writing and publishing worker. Insufficient worker benefits was the top concern for survey respondents.


  1. Identify technology skills gaps and review best practices to fill them.

  2. Identify gaps in and provide support for professional development in marketing, networking, exporting and business management – online and collaboratively where possible.

  3. Spearhead the identification and dissemination of cross-sector best practices of new digital business models for domestic and global growth.

  4. Support the timely and coordinated dissemination of analysis and course content related to copyright legislation.

  5. Adapt, consolidate and disseminate best practice materials for mentoring and internships in publishing environments.