Publishing Industry Workforce Survey launches


The Australian publishing industry Workforce Survey on Diversity and Inclusion launches today, and will provide crucial insights into the demographic makeup of the industry.

These insights will allow goal setting and progress tracking of projects to improve diversity and representation across the industry.

James Kellow, President of the Australian Publishers Association, said of the inaugural survey:

 'Inclusivity, Diversity and Accessibility are a priority for the Association and the industry as a whole. However we don’t currently have the data and quantitative information we need to understand where we are as an industry. This survey, delivered in conjunction with the University of Melbourne, will provide us with a starting point, and capture an accurate snapshot of the Australian publishing workforce in 2022.'

Fellow APA board member Emma Cooper added:

'We're doing this to address both local and global concerns with representation. Like others in the industry, we know change is needed. So it's important that there's some real quantitative information to be able to check whether that change is happening.'

Michael Gordon-Smith, chief executive of the APA, stressed the survey’s importance to making and monitoring these changes, saying:

'We’re asking everyone who works in Australian book publishing to help the future development of the industry by completing the survey.

The transparent data produced from this research means the industry can set goals, look to implement new programs, and then track progress of these initiatives through future surveys. We’ll also be able to compare performance against other sectors, as well as publishing industries overseas.'

The survey has been developed by researchers at the University of Melbourne, in consultation with experts, and approved by the University’s ethics committee. Joint principal researcher Susannah Bowen, also a long-time booktrade executive, reaffirmed the importance of everyone involved in publishing taking part:

'Whether you’re in trade, educational or scholarly publishing, and no matter if your role is in editorial, production, sales, marketing, operations, IT, HR or something else entirely, we need to hear from you. This includes full-time, part-time, freelance and casual workers, and we especially need to hear from people of colour, people with disabilities and people who identify as LGBTIQ+, to make sure we get an accurate picture of the industry.'

Of the survey questions, Michael Gordon-Smith said:

'The survey is anonymous – it’s not being filled in by companies but by individuals working across all areas of publishing. It asks many personal questions, another reason it was important for us to do this research with experts and the independent management of a respected academic institution. We're doing this with the University of Melbourne so it's transparent and objective.'

Answers will be completely anonymous, accessible only to the University of Melbourne researchers. Participants will be asked a number of survey questions about gender, race, culture, sexuality, age, socio-economic position, location, disabilities, job role and employer. The survey will take around 15 - 20 minutes to complete.  

Take part

The survey, along with further information, is accessible here until April 8.

To find out more on the research, you are invited to an open briefing session on Friday 11 March at 2.30pm (AEDT) - register here.

Results are expected in June 2022, and will be presented at the BookUp Conference, taking place on June 9 at the ICC Sydney.