Diversity & Inclusion

The Publishers Association works with our members to improve inclusivity within the industry.

We hope that through industry-led action we can create a workforce that represents the rich diversity of the UK’s population, opening up opportunities for aspiring publishers and ensuring the long-term health of publishing.

Many individual publishers already have fantastic initiatives underway to improve diversity and inclusivity and are seeing results in improved inclusivity in the wider publishing ecosystem, from the writers they publish through to their workforces. 

The following are examples of some initiatives in this area by our members.

Cambridge University Press

The Cambridge University Press apprenticeship programme employs talented young people across the business in: Academic Books and Journals; Communications; Customer Services; Education; ELT Facilities; Finance; HR; Project Management and Technology. Apprentices earn while they learn and form part of a wider group of people, who all benefit from training opportunities together.

In 2018 Cambridge University Press partnered with Creative Access to provide four summer internships. Alongside their roles within different publishing teams, the interns were given extensive networking opportunities, allowing them to make vital contacts for the future. As part of their drive to promote widening participation, Cambridge University Press also support students to take part in the Get Into Book Publishing programme.

Faber & Faber

Faber & Faber has created a bursary for a 20-week internship for a person from a BAME background. Faber has partnered with Creative Access to help with the recruitment. The internship will begin in September and the successful candidate will receive training and support from every department in the building. The company intends to make this an annual initiative and to provide mentorship to other shortlisted candidates.

Faber Academy is launching a new scholarship from spring 2018. Two writers per year will be offered tuition-free places on the prestigious six-month Writing A Novel course. The aim of the scholarship is to support “writers, from BAME and other backgrounds whose voices might otherwise go unheard”.

Faber Children’s has teamed up with the Andlyn Literary Agency to create the Faber Andlyn BAME (FAB) Prize to help discover new writers and illustrators from BAME backgrounds, and to provide a year-long mentoring scheme for one author and one illustrator.

Faber is partnering with a number of organisations so that staff members can engage externally in advocating and promoting careers in the publishing industry to children and young adults from a wide range of backgrounds. Activities will include mentorship and open days at the Faber offices. The launch partners are New Writing NorthArts Emergency and IntoUniversity.

Hachette UK

Hachette UK offers final year students and recent graduates the chance to apply for two brand new programmes that offer brilliant students with a passion for books the chance to gain an insight into the highly competitive publishing industry. The Fresh Chapters 8-Week Internship offers graduates the chance to gain an eight-week insight into the publishing industry.


HarperCollins UK was recently named as one of Business in the Community’s Best Employers for Race – the only representative of the publishing industry to make the list. Sandra Kerr OBE, Race Equality Director at Business in the Community, said of the company: “They are taking a comprehensive and strategic approach to tackling racial inequalities within their organisation and have shown their commitment and leadership on this issue. I hope more employers will follow their example of best practice and take part in the 2018 listing. If employers truly want their workplaces to reflect the clients, communities and customers they serve, the time to act is now.”

Diversity and Inclusivity relevant initiatives at HarperCollins UK include:

HarperCollins UK’s BAME traineeship was launched in 2016, the first of its kind in the publishing industry, and has now been opened up to non-graduates. The successful candidates are hired to undertake a twelve-month rotational traineeship around the business in London, with a choice to develop in a wide range of teams from publicity, marketing and editorial, to production, strategy and audio. HarperCollins provides a mentor, plenty of training and loads of support. The selection process also adds to HarperCollins UK’s talent pipeline, and has led to several people taking up permanent positions at the publisher.

The HC All In forum covers all forms of diversity and scooped the Employee Network category award at the 2016 Race Equality Awards. The forum was launched with the goal of implementing real and lasting change within HarperCollins and the publishing industry as a whole. The forum intends to help increase diversity and inclusion, with a particular focus on content and workforce, including enlisting a more inclusive pool of authors, illustrators and suppliers and engaging a broader readership. Currently with over 60 members, HC All In has rewritten briefs to freelancers to include diversity in their content, advised on diversity in cover design and image library content.

WING, the Women’s Industry Network Group is a cross-company mentoring programme for senior women HarperCollins UK set up with Oracle that now includes Conde Nast, News UK and Vodafone. Annually, the group comes together to host a panel debate event with an invitee list from all involved companies.

Launching in early 2018, the BAME Development Circle programme is led by a senior BAME executive and has been developed to encourage, support and retain BAME talent, help develop skills, build networks and share BAME role models, including guest speakers from outside the company such as CEOs and entrepreneurs.

Maternity transition can be seen as a career pinch point, so launching in early 2018, iReturn will provide a programme of quarterly facilitated learning to support women and key carers preparing for maternity leave, those on maternity leave, and those recently returned. Sessions will offer practical support and guidance, with opportunities to share experiences, explore challenges and build support networks.

Oxford University Press

At Oxford University Press (OUP) we exist to transform people’s lives through education by giving people access to knowledge, research, and resources. Creating a diverse, inclusive culture is essential in helping us achieve our ambitions. By empowering people to express their individuality, to make their mark, and to achieve their personal aspirations, we can better-reflect the markets we operate in, and the customers we work with.

We hope to inspire change not only within our organization but within the publishing industry. In 2018, we launched five global diversity and inclusion goals which shape and focus our activities in this area:

  • Increase awareness and understanding of diversity and inclusion
  • Ensure recruitment and retention foster inclusion and increase diversity
  • Support diverse groups into leadership
  • Make the most of our diverse workforce, globally and locally
  • Ensure appropriate policies and practices to support a diverse workforce

Some of the activities we have launched or pursued to help us achieve our goals include:

  • Launching global inclusion training for employees worldwide
  • Measuring our gender pay gap in the UK. Our data is included in the University of Oxford’s report, but we create our own report for transparency, and to help us identify where we need to drive further improvements. You can read the full report here.
  • Ensuring we have a consistent approach to learning and development that supports all employees globally, no matter where they are based.

We also partner with a number of external organizations to support our internal activities:

  • Women’s Ahead: committed to developing women towards leadership roles.
  • Pathways: committed to developing BAME group of Illustrators.
  • Publishers Association: committed to improving the diversity in the publishing industry. 12% of OUP employees filled the D&I survey for the industry report.
  • Creative Access – committed to providing entry-level opportunities into publishing to diverse groups.
  • Yellow Submarine – committed to providing opportunities to groups of neurodiversity.
  • Spare Room Project – committed to helping interns and work experience candidate to secure accommodation at a subsidised cost. Currently only operating in London, but OUP pioneered Oxford location for this project.

We have also set up committees and local networks in many offices around the world, including the UK, USA, South Africa, India, Brazil, Spain, Hong Kong, Mexico, Malaysia, Canada, Kenya, Japan, Argentina, and Pakistan. These committees and networks support and champion our diversity and inclusion goals by organizing events, championing diversity and inclusion, and encouraging open discussions about this topic. Over time, additional committees will be set up in some of the other regions where they have a presence.

The committees include:

  • Recruitment & Retention Committee: to support us in recruiting and retaining the best talent, and ensuring our policies and practices embrace diversity & inclusion.
  • Event Planning Committee: to foster an inclusive and welcoming environment in the office for all employees.
  • Editorial & Promotion Committee: to support diversity & inclusion among authors and readers by identifying ways to diversify the publishing content, and subsequently market it to more diverse audiences.

In the UK specifically, we have empowered our employees to set up their own committees. These include:

  • The Befriender Network: Launched in October 2018, it provides informal support to anyone returning or continuing to work after a traumatic or life-changing event. Befrienders can provide support (face-to-face or remotely, and for as long as is required and feasible) across a wide range of experiences including mental and physical health challenges, well-being, bereavement, being a new starter, and supporting dependants. The network also assists colleagues and managers to ‘find the right words’ to support colleagues who are going through a difficult time.
  • The Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic (BAME) Network: This network launched in January 2019 as a fun, social endeavour for BAME colleagues in, or visiting, the Oxford office. The network mainly focuses on professional development, socialising, and raising the presence of the BAME community at OUP.
  • LGBTQ Network: OUP’s LGBTQ+ network focuses on social networking. The group holds monthly lunches and teas, and regular campaigns and events.
  • Women’s Network: This network works towards facilitating the career progression of women by providing networking, mentoring, professional, and personal development through discussions, events, and workshops.

Penguin Random House UK

Penguin Pride celebrates the importance of literature in progressing LGBT equality and changing attitudes towards the LGBT community. Building on the success of Penguin Pride in 2016, Penguin Random House UK  partnered with Britain’s leading LGBT charity, Stonewall, on a unique event featuring literature, live music, spoken word and author readings and photography during London Pride fortnight.

In 2016, Penguin Random House launched JobHack; 5 days of creative, publishing-oriented workshops aimed to inform young people about careers in publishing. JobHack is part of Penguin Random House’s work to help make publishing more inclusive. They aim to reach those who have a passion for storytelling and curiosity for what’s going on in the world, but who aren’t on publishing’s front doorstep.

Penguin Random House‘s The Scheme is a traineeship for public relations. It’s about convincing new voices who may not have thought about working in book publishing to consider a career in publishing PR.

Penguin Random House created WriteNow to find, mentor and publish new writers from communities under-represented on the nation’s bookshelves. This includes writers from BAME (Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic) or LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer) communities, writers who have a disability or come from a socio-economically marginalised background.


Springer Nature hires a significant amount of graduates every year into entry-level editorial roles. They have created an Undergraduate Careers Event specifically for those interested in editorial and publishing.