The Research Says...

We dug into the stacks, studies, and statistics on equitable structures and organizational + team health and this is what we found:

  • Across the board, internal mobility, perceptions of fairness in pay distribution, clear role expectations, and socialization (especially with the person directly supporting you) are central for retention.
  • In journalism specifically, there is a link between retention and how closely an organization lives its values. Example: mission-driven outlets have higher retention than profit-driven news organizations.
  • Employees with clear role expectations, minimal role conflict, and opportunities for growth and advancement, in any field, are less likely to quit. Additionally, realistic job previews, transparency in benefits and salary, along with referrals from current employees at the recruitment stage improve retention.
  • Many journalists of color leave the field because “they decided to", not because they couldn’t find work. A high proportion of these “leavers” are women, specifically, Black women. The primary reasons for leaving the journalism field are workplace stress, low pay, and newsroom mismanagement. Specific solutions suggested by those who have left the field are: family-sustaining wages, manager accountability, mentorship, pathways to promotion and development, and mental health support.
  • Across industries, health benefits and strong systems of support, especially access to childcare, improve retention across all employee demographics. These benefits should be implemented alongside an inclusion strategy in order to retain BIPOC and women employees. Across age groups and career groups, healthcare benefits are a key factor in retention. For younger staff, student debt relief is also a priority. Black and Latinx employees are most likely to fall through employee coverage gaps, so it could be inferred that healthcare benefits would be a key retention factor for Black and brown journalists.


Muir, Marie Rose; Li, Lin (2014) What are the Top Factors That Drive Employee Retention and are There Demographic (Gender, Generation, Ethnicity, Geography, etc.) Differences in These Factors?

Fay, C. H., & Thompson, M. A. (2001). Contextual determinants of reward systems’ success: An exploratory study. Human Resource Management, 40, 213-226.

Bryant PC, Allen DG. Compensation, Benefits and Employee Turnover: HR Strategies for Retaining Top Talent. Compensation & Benefits Review. 2013;45(3):171-175. doi:10.1177/0886368713494342

Beam RA. Organizational Goals and Priorities and the Job Satisfaction of U.S. Journalists. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly. 2006;83(1):169-185. doi:10.1177/107769900608300111

The 'Leavers' Survey, By Carla Murphy, 2020. Open News.

Brown BP, Zablah AR, Bellenger DN. The role of mentoring in promoting organizational commitment among black managers: An evaluation of the indirect effects of racial similarity and shared racial perspectives. Journal of Business Research. 2008;61(7):732-738. doi:10.1016/j.jbusres.2007.08.004

Deloitte. 2016. The 2016 Deloite Millennial Survey: Winning over the next generation of leaders. Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited. /Documents/About-Deloitte/gx-millenial-survey-2016-exec-summary.pdf

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