Monday, February 02, 2015

Academic Proofreading

Although my preferred areas to work in are lexicography, followed by translating, I do occasionally do proofreading and copy editing to make ends meet. While hunting for some extra work earlier today I came across the following ad.

Academic Proofreaders/Editors - Freelance/Experienced
PSUK - Cambridge


- Fully flexible, remote-working.

We're looking for experienced freelance (independent contractor) proofreaders/editors.

If you are experienced in academic editing and/or hold a PhD, please send us an email with the title 'FREELANCE PROOFREADING & EDITING - INDEPENDENT CONTRACTORS' and the following details in the main body:

e.g. BA (Hons) Management, University of Warwick, 1989
PhD Management Studies, UCL, 2004

Other relevant qualifications:
e.g. Advanced Member, SfEP, 2013

e.g. Editor, Editing LTD, USA, 2008-13

Strongest academic areas:
e.g. Business, Management, etc.

- Rates of pay are around £12 per hour (based on 2k words edited in 1 hour).

- Fully flexible: as a freelance contractor, you dictate when you work and when you don't. No explanations are needed when you accept/reject a job. You are in complete control of the construct and outcome of your work.

- You will only be offered jobs in your chosen academic disciplines which keeps the work interesting.
Please feel free to attach your CV to the email also.
Unfortunately, we are we are unable to answer all emails due to the volume we receive.

It puzzled me, to be honest. It seems to be implying that a PhD (which here in Scotland means a minimum of 8 years at university), while not completely necessary, would be highly desirable, if you want to be considered. It also seems to prefer you to be an advanced member of SfEP; a society which charges for annual membership and which requires you to undertake training etc to reach an advanced level. Some experience would also go down well if you even want them to give you a reply to your CV given the number of emails they get. And once you've fulfilled all the above, it'll consider paying you £12/hr (which by the way is about half the minimum pay recommended to the members of the SfEP). 

So the message we are sending is that if you take 8 years out to reach PhD level, you can read other people's PhDs for £12 an hour, so they too can qualify and earn £12/hr. What exactly is the incentive, particularly south of the border to run up debts to the tune of £9K+ a year, so you can earn a whopping great £18900 annually before tax, with no pension, no sick pay, no paid holidays? Working in your local supermarket for minimum wage (£6-50/hr) but with holidays (and no 8 year earnings break) etc and no lulls between jobs, would potentially end up earning you the same amount, in a much less stressful manner.

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