So you are wondering: how much does a proofreader make in the UK? The first question we need to ask is:
How much does a proofreader make as a freelancer or as a full-time job?
They really are two different things. As a full-time job you will be paid a yearly salary and the number of documents you proofread may vary. As a freelancer you are largely sourcing the work for yourself and there will be times when you have no work at all, but you set your own rates.
Full-time proofreading job salaries
A quick search shows that a full-time, salaried proofreader can expect to make between £24,000 and £35,000 per year in 2023. This range is probably a UK-wide average. A constantly updated overview of proofreading salaries can be found on a leading job website called Glassdoor: https://www.glassdoor.co.uk/Salaries/proofreader-salary-SRCH_KO0,11.htm
Note that this salary range is for jobs such as “content editor”, “proofreader” or “editor”. Other jobs such press officer or content executive can be jobs that require a large amount of proofreading, but are not true “proofreading” jobs.
It is also important to note that proofreading salaries in London are likely to pay more than those located outside the city.
I presume, for the sake of this article, that you want to work from home and are thus interested in how much you could stand to make as a freelancer.
Freelance proofreader salaries
What you earn as a freelance proofreader can vary. The factors that influence your earnings include:
- how fast you can proofread
- how much experience you have (as this will make you faster)
- whether you are a subject specialist or not (again this will allow you to proofread faster)
The the Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading (formerly the Society of Freelance Editors and Proofreaders (SfeP)) is the official body in the UK that endeavours to provide freelance proofreading salary guidelines.
As of November 2023 their recommended rates are:
Proofreading – £28.65
Editing – £33.30
(see here for the link)
Remember: the above rates are for when you are sourcing the work YOURSELF, and the time value of invoicing, quoting and customer support are added. Many argue that these rates are not realistic when it comes to academic or business proofreading and many proofreading companies will realistically not pay those rates. Why is that? Well, companies are rate setters (see our course page for more information on rate setters versus rate accepters), they find you the work so the amount you factor in to the above suggested rates has to be reduced.
I must point out, that in my opinion the SfEP is very much focused on the publishing industry.