PA survey shows mixed progress on diversity gap

News - Publishing Friday, 11 January 2019

Proportion of senior women in publishing on target but BAME numbers still falling short


According to the PA: 'The number of women in senior leadership roles, representation of LGBT+ staff and representation of disabled staff are all high within publishing. However, despite positive results in many areas significant progress still needs to be made around the numbers of BAME staff employed and improving regional diversity across the industry.'

The survey is the second of its kind, with the first in 2017 being used as the basis for the PA’s 10-point Inclusivity Action Plan and two related five-year targets – which aim 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 of the 2018 survey include that 54% of senior leadership and executive level roles were held by women (56% in senior leadership roles and 48% at executive level) and that 11.6% of respondents identified as BAME.

Other findings were that 8.2% of individuals identified as LGB, which is more than four times that of the estimated UK population (2%); 0.6% of respondents identified as transgender with a further 0.8% of respondents preferring another term; and 5.4% of respondents identified as having a disability or impairment. A quarter of those who stated their type of disability identified as having a mental health condition

PA ceo Stephen Lotinga said: "This year’s survey provides us with the most comprehensive data on diversity and inclusion that we’ve ever had. It’s encouraging that so many in the industry are now taking part and reflects the increasing desire for accurate benchmarks which future progress can be measured against.

"While the data does show some progress is being made, we should not shy away from the fact there are still some key areas where much more needs to be done.

"There is common recognition amongst publishers of the importance of diversity and inclusion issues and the PA is committed to this work in the longer term, in terms of further developing the survey and our broader work, to help the industry identify and direct their action on inclusivity."

The survey findings are based on data collected from 42 publishing companies of varying sizes across academic, education and consumer publishing. The number of employees surveyed rose from 2,648 in 2017 to 6,432 in 2018. The huge difference in sample sizes makes comparisons between the two sets of data tricky, but the PA will be disappointed to note that this year's results drawn from a wider sample saw a drop in BAME employment level from 13% to 11.6%.


Year on year comparisons between 2017 and 2018

• Gender
2017 2018 Difference
Female 68.8% 63.4% -5.4%
Male 30.8% 36.1% +5.3%


• Women in Senior Leadership
2017 2018 Difference
Executive Level 48% 48% -
Senior Leadership 49% 56% +7%
Combined 49% 54% +5%


• Ethnicity
2017 2018 Difference
White 86.5% 87.3% +0.8%
BAME 13.0% 11.6% -1.4%
Prefer not to say 0.5% 1.1% +0.6%
Total Responses 2,648 4,521 +70.7%

• Ethnicity (Like for Like Comparison)
2017 2018 Difference
White 88.9% 85.8% -3.1%
BAME 9.9% 13.3% +3.4%
Prefer not to say 1.2% 1.0% -0.2%
Total Responses 2,171 2,099 -3.3%

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