UK Publishers Association Report on Diversity and Inclusion

The Publishers Association (UK) has published its 3rd annual report on diversity and inclusion in the UK publishing industry highlighting successes but also where more work needs to be done. 

The most comprehensive overview of the UK publishing workforce ever recorded shows that the number of women in senior leadership roles and representation of LGB+ staff are high within the industry, but there is still progress to be made in areas such as socioeconomic diversity, regional diversity and Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) representation.

The 2019 survey, the third of its kind, is based on data from over 57 publishing companies of varying sizes across academic, education and consumer publishing. Data from a total of 12,702 employees was collected, an increase in survey size of 97.5% from 2018.

The first survey results in 2017 were used as the basis for the Publishers Association’s 10-point Inclusivity Action Plan and two related five-year targets – aiming for at least 50% of leadership positions and executive level roles to be occupied by women and 15% of publishing employees to be BAME by 2022.

Key findings include:

  • 55% of senior leadership and executive level roles were held by women (55% in senior leadership roles and 53% at executive level).
  • 0% of respondents identified as BAME, which is higher than last year (11.6%) but has not yet reached the 15% target.
  • 3% of respondents identified as LGB+, significantly more than the UK population (2.0%).
  • 6% of respondents identified as having a disability or impairment, with the majority of respondents (75.7%) either being open (33.7%) or partially open (42.0%) about it at work.
  • 1 in 4 of respondents (25.5%) have caring responsibilities.
  • More than a quarter of respondents grew up in the South East of England (26.1%), with a further 13.9% growing up in the East of England, and 11.2% growing up in London. The North East of England had the lowest representation of all the English regions, with just 1.2% of respondents.
  • 8% of respondents attended an independent or fee-paying school, which is almost three times higher than the UK average.
  • There is a lack of representation (0.0% - 1 respondent) of those aged under 18 and low representation of those aged over 55 (8.1%), considering that by 2020, one-third of the workforce will be over 50.

Stephen Lotinga, CEO of the Publishers Association, said: “This year’s survey provides us with the most comprehensive data on diversity and inclusion in UK publishing that has ever been gathered. It’s encouraging that so many in the industry are now taking part, indicating a growing culture of sharing workforce information for the benefit of the industry as a whole.

“Once again, while the survey data shows positive areas it also highlights those where we need to improve in order to make publishing as inclusive as possible and ensure that the industry attracts and retains diverse talent. There is a huge amount of valuable work going on across publishing to drive change. I am particularly encouraged by the new Publishing Assistant apprenticeship which has created an additional route into the industry with a great deal of potential.”

You can read the reaction of Michiel Kolman, IPA's Diversity and Inclusion Envoy, in his blog post here

The Publishers Association’s diversity work in 2020 will include further establishing the new apprenticeship standard, a continued focus on regional diversity, recruitment and retention of BAME employees, connecting employee networks across the industry and sharing best practice with other creative industries.

The Publishers Association engaged diversity and inclusion specialists EA Inclusion to undertake the workforce survey in 2019. The survey will continue to be conducted annually.

You can read the full report here.

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