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APA, UniMelb funding ‘baseline’ survey on diversity and inclusion in publishing workforce

The Australian Publishers Association (APA) and the University of Melbourne are jointly funding a research survey to provide data on diversity and inclusion in the publishing industry workforce in Australia. The survey will be distributed to individuals working in the Australian publishing industry, including freelancers, in early 2022.

According to University of Melbourne joint principal researchers Susannah Bowen and Beth Driscoll, knowledge of the demographic makeup of staff in Australian publishing companies will enable longitudinal tracking of the industry’s progress in becoming more diverse. The research will ‘address contemporary global concerns with representativeness within publishing, and will be repeatable and quantitative’, said a statement from the University of Melbourne.

APA CEO Michael Gordon-Smith said, ‘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—and compare its performance against other Australian sectors and publishing industries overseas.’

Bowen and Driscoll write in Pursuit, the University of Melbourne’s research and opinion website: ‘Diverse and inclusive workplaces are important in their own right. Numerous research studies show that working environments that are accessible, supportive and respectful generate increased productivity and financial performance. They also lead to increased creativity, faster and better decision making and—critically as we enter the post-pandemic era of the Great Resignation—higher employee engagement and lower staff turnover.’

The survey will collect anonymous data related to attributes including gender, ethnicity and race, sexuality, age, socioeconomic position, location, disability, job role/function and employing entities.

‘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,’ said Bowen.

‘And 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,’ added Driscoll.

Bowen and Driscoll’s intended outcomes of the survey are: a report for the APA Board and members with detailed data insights, a public-facing article with high-level findings, and an academic paper.

The reseachers will discuss the survey during a session at the Small Press Network’s Independent Publishing Conference on Friday, 26 November.


Category: Local news