The voluntary buyout offers Hearst Magazines extended to 600 employees in its sales, marketing and ad side has resulted in close to 120 staffers raising their hands, sources tell Media Ink.
That amounts to over 5 percent of the division’s 2,200 person workforce in a magazine group that oversees glossies like Cosmopolitan, Esquire, Harper’s Bazaar, Elle and the digital ad agency iCrossing.
(Hearst Magazines also includes the Des Moines, Iowa-based distribution company CDS, but none of its 1,100 employees were eligible for the buyouts.)
Insiders said cited the fairly generous terms of the buyout offers, including three weeks pay for each year of service.
The company also offered continuing health insurance coverage of between a year and 18 months for employees with enough tenure under their belts.
Hearst declined to comment. The deadline for staffers to apply for the buyouts was May 21. Those taking the package will begin exiting starting on June 9, sources said.
The high number of volunteers means that forced buyouts are now unlikely at the second biggest magazine publisher in the country.
The huge turnout also means Hearst may not feel the need to extend buyout offers to other division staffers hoping to sail off into the sunset with a sweet sendoff package.
The company’s editorial employees represented by the Writers Guild of America East, are certainly not likely to receive any kind of voluntary offers in the near future.
After a contentious battle, the company lost its bid to discourage the unionization effort early last year. But the company and the union have yet to hammer out a first-ever contract covering the 300 editorial staffers.
The cuts are in strong contrast to the reputation Hearst developed last year when it stood out for avoiding layoffs and staff furloughs during the COVID-19 pandemic that plagued rival publishers like Meredith and Conde Nast as well as digital media companies like Buzzfeed and Vice Media.
The only notable exception to the no-layoffs trend at Hearst was the 58 employees who lost their jobs late last year when O, the Oprah Magazine shifted from monthly publication to a membership program. It also launched a new quarterly mag called Oprah Quarterly.