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Inclusivity Action Plan

Inclusivity Action Plan

Survey of the Publishing Workforce 2018

Key findings of the 2018 survey include:

  • 54% of senior leadership and executive level roles were held by women (56% in senior leadership roles and 48% at executive level)
  • 11.6% of respondents identified as BAME
  • 8.2% of individuals identified as LGB, which is more than four times that of the estimated UK population (2%) and just over three times that of the estimated London population (2.7%)*
  • 0.6% of respondents identified as transgender with a further 0.8% of respondents preferring another term. Combined, this is higher than the UK population forecast for individuals that are gender nonconforming (1.4% vs 1%)**
  • 5.4% of respondents identified as having a disability or impairment and 25.5% of those who stated their type of disability identified as having a mental health condition 


To read the full report, download the pdf.

About the Action Plan

Our Inclusivity Action Plan sets out ten ways that you can improve and advocate for diversity and inclusion in publishing.

The publishing industry has a long way to go before it truly reflects the UK population but our roadmap for change is a good start. Here we have mapped out the steps that you can take as an employer to make your organisation more inclusive. For information on what you can do as an individual, visit our EQUIP page.

Members are encouraged to engage with the action plan by publicly endorsing its core tenets, undertaking the suggested actions or pledging to achieve the 5-year targets. If you are looking for ideas or would like to know what other publishers are already doing, visit our best practice page. We celebrate all our members and their inclusivity work, however big or small.

We hope that through sustained industrywide action, we can achieve change at an unprecedented pace.

The 5-Year Targets

In 2017, we pledged to undertake an industrywide survey of the publishing workforce every year for the next 5-years. Our initial survey found that women account for 49% of senior leadership roles but only represent 41% at executive board level. The results also revealed that Black, Asian and minority ethnic employees only make up 13% of the publishing workforce.

Armed with a comprehensive data set, we resolved to set two targets:

  1. At least 50% of women in both senior leadership positions and executive level roles
  2. 15% of employees are Black, Asian and ethnic minority people

We will achieve these targets by supporting our membership through unconscious bias training, promoting best practice and recognising publishers who have demonstrated a commitment to increasing inclusivity through our support for conferences and awards. We have also developed a Publishing Assistant apprenticeship to expand the routes available into the industry.

Statement from Lis Tribe (Past President and Group Managing Director of Hodder Education, a division of Hachette UK)

"The publishing industry has started to work in earnest on reaching out to a wider pool of entrants, and promoting our talented people once they are in. Being more inclusive is socially and morally the right thing to do, as well as making good business sense.

"However, whilst many individual publishers have made progress towards improving diversity within their own companies, tackling inclusivity is something which still needs to be addressed industry-wide. I am delighted therefore that PA members recognise the importance of this agenda, and have asked the PA to support our individual efforts with an action plan including an annual industry survey and published benchmarks.

"I know the PA will do everything possible to support all its members in their efforts to respond to these issues. Publishing workforce data is a first step but there is a lot more that we should be doing and we’re hoping that the whole book industry joins in this endeavour."

Actions for Inclusivity
  1. Develop an inclusivity policy, which is embedded throughout the organisation and which has strong leadership commitment
  2. Undertake an internal workforce audit and providing the PA with the data on an annual basis so that industry-wide statistics can be published
  3. Ensure all staff involved with hiring attend unconscious bias training   
  4. Nominate an inclusivity champion on your board or management committee who can monitor action on equality
  5. Provide opportunities for flexible or agile working
  6. Analyse job descriptions, recruitment strategies and interview practices for hidden biases
  7. Develop a mentoring scheme that supports new staff or those at transitional career stages who are from traditionally underrepresented group
  8. Ensure there is a balanced speaker panel for any events you are running or speaking on
  9. Consider hiring a Publishing Assistant apprentice or a Creative Access Intern
  10. Become a publishing ambassador, as well as encouraging colleagues to give a careers talk to a local school or university