A research survey to provide data on the demographic make-up of the publishing industry workforce in Australia has been initiated by the Australian Publishers Association and the University of Melbourne.
The survey will address global concerns with representation in publishing, and will enable future tracking of the industry’s progress in becoming more diverse.
The Board has elevated diversity and inclusion to be a priority of the Association, with APA Chief Executive Michael Gordon-Smith saying:
‘Books are for everyone, and the Australian publishing industry wants to be diverse and inclusive. This Industry Workforce Survey will set a baseline so the industry can set goals and know whether its initiatives are working. We can also compare its performance against other Australian sectors and publishing industries overseas.’
Joint principal researcher Susannah Bowen, a long-time publishing executive, noted that:
‘In publishing, diversity and inclusion are critical. Diversity in the workplace means creating an inclusive environment that is accessible, supportive, respectful and where all workers have equal rights and opportunities,’
Associate Professor and joint principal researcher Beth Driscoll agreed with the importance of the survey, saying:
‘in the publishing industry, workers are also gatekeepers and tastemakers. A diverse workforce supports cultural representation and enables inclusive publishing in literature, education and information.’
The survey will be distributed to individuals working in the Australian publishing industry, including freelancers, in Q1 2022. The APA and the University of Melbourne will seek the assistance of publishers in distributing the survey to their staff, supported by briefings for publishers. The research team will also invite consultation with stakeholders, including members of First Nation and People of Colour in Publishing group.
The intended outcomes from the research include a report for the APA Board and members, along with detailed data insights and a public facing article of high level findings. Results are expected by June 2022.