Latest industry survey shows areas of improvement 

NewsPress Release

The Publishers Association’s industry survey shows that there has been an increase in the diversity of the workforce, but that there are still areas which need to be improved on. 

The survey is the biggest of its kind in the creative industries. A total of 14,089 employees from 60 businesses took part in 2021.  

Key findings from The UK Publishing Workforce: Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging in 2021

  • Over half of those in executive leadership and senior management positions are female (52% and 56% respectively). 63% of survey respondents were female.  
  • Representation of people from ethnic minority groups (excluding white minorities) has increased to 15%, achieving the Publishers Association’s target set for 2022. 
  • LGB+ representation continues to increase further with 13% of respondents either identifying as lesbian, gay, or bi, or preferring to self-describe their sexual orientation, a figure which has grown each year since 2017 (5%).
  • 1% of respondents identify as trans which is in line with the UK population according to Government Equalities Office estimates. 
  • The representation of people with a disability has increased over the years from 2% in 2017 to 13% in 2021. 
  • Socio-economic background continues to represent major barriers to inclusion, with around two thirds (67%) of respondents being from professional backgrounds. 

Stephen Lotinga, Chief Executive of the Publishers Association, commented: 

“It’s heartening to see that progress is being made in several areas. There are definitely some things to welcome and, crucially, some potential signs that the work that publishers have been doing to improve diversity, inclusion and belonging for staff is beginning to help move the dial.  

“However, there is absolutely no room for complacency. In many areas, the pace of change is not enough. Socio-economic background continues to represent a major barrier to inclusion in our industry, as it does in many others. A lack of regional diversity remains stark. 

“There is still much to be done and the Publishers Association are working with publishers and partners to plan the next phase of our inclusivity work and will share information about this later in the year.” 

The Publishers Association engaged diversity and inclusion specialists EA Inclusion to undertake the workforce survey in 2021. 

You can read The UK Publishing Workforce: Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging in 2021 here.