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UK Publishers Association announces industry-wide diversity plan

In the UK, the Publishers Association (PA) has announced a 10-point inclusivity plan, with the aim of increasing the percentage of black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) employees in the publishing industry to at least 15% in five years, and the percentage of women in executive-level and senior leadership positions to at least 50% in five years, reports the Bookseller.

Publishers will be encouraged by the PA to sign on for the plan, and will report annual data to the PA. As part of the 10 points, publishers will be asked to develop a ‘policy on inclusivity’, nominate a ‘champion for diversity on their board’ and to develop a ‘mentoring scheme’ to support existing staff from marginalised backgrounds. Publishers will also be asked to review their hiring practices for unconscious bias, with the PA offering free training sessions on unconscious bias to encourage smaller publishers to participate.

The targets were decided on after the PA conducted ‘a research exercise’ with a mix of publishers and 15,000 respondents that found BAME employees make up 13% of the UK industry and women at 49% of senior leadership roles. Target figures are based on the overall UK population .

PA president Lis Tribe said the organisation wants ‘something everyone can commit to’. ‘If we feel we are getting to those benchmarks quicker, we will set new benchmarks,’ she said.

‘The publishing industry has a really important job to do, in a society where too much is [done] at a surface level and very trite arguments go on, or are directed by Twitter,’ added Tribe. ‘As a publishing industry we can do something that is much more considered and in-depth … If we aren’t diverse ourselves, we are much more likely not to be diverse in what we put out there and the audience we can reach.’


Category: International news