Tag Archives: Inclusivity

Building Inclusivity in Publishing Conference 2017

Is Publishing Inclusive these days?

Diversity or inclusivity in publishing is very much in the industry news and I went along to the Building Inclusivity in Publishing Conference organised by the London Book Fair and the Publisher’s Association. It’s really good that the industry is addressing this, but it does feel like it’s a particular issue within Trade book publishing. We work with a wide range of sectors in publishing (academic, educational, professional, trade, STM, B2B) and there is a much more mixed demographic across the other sectors.

Matt Hancock, Minister of State for Creative Industries said diversity is a moral imperative and our social and economic responsibility which I’m sure we all agree with. Everyone also seemed to agree we need to have more role models from diverse backgrounds and it’s vital that there is diversity in senior leadership. Simon Dowson-Collins, General Counsel and Company Secretary at HarperCollins acknowledged that all people are different – some are extrovert, some introvert but it’s important to speak out so people can see BAME people in senior roles and aspire to it.

Halo/Horns Effect

In terms of recruitment, it’s important to have processes in place that avoid what’s called the ‘halo / horns’ effect – where you immediately warm to people like you and are less keen on those who are different. Some of our publisher clients are on top of this, for example using new processes that strip out names in the application process so hiring managers are not biased in their selection process. There have also been some recent strides including the HarperCollins BAME scheme, Little Brown’s new imprint Dialogue Books (publishing books by people under-represented in publishing).

Broadening Inclusivity in Entry-Level Recruitment

The afternoon session looked at broadening inclusivity in entry-level recruitment in publishing and there has been some progress in this area – it’s no longer the case that an English lit degree and a love of books is enough! Initiatives like Penguin no longer requiring a degree and offering help with accommodation and HarperCollins using video interviews and having a BAME grad scheme are helping. But it needs more work like us going in to schools to encourage publishing as a great career for all.

The Publisher’s Association has a 10-Point Inclusivity Action Plan that publishers can sign up to and is definitely worth a read to get some good ideas!

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Building Inclusivity in Publishing

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Our pledge to help publishing to build inclusivity

Last month The London Book Fair, in partnership with The Publishers Association, held a conference on Building Inclusivity. I attended the event for Atwood Tate, because in our role as a publishing recruitment agency we have a responsibility to ensure recruitment processes are inclusive and offer all suitable candidates an equal opportunity to be considered for a role.

As members of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation, we adhere to its Code of Professional Practice.  A respect for diversity is one of the main guiding principles of this code. We adhere to all applicable legislation, encourage equal opportunities in recruitment and establish working practices to safeguard against prejudice.

Over the past few weeks, I have been reflecting on the thoughts and insights that were shared at the Building Inclusivity event.  To start with, in using the word “inclusivity” rather than “diversity” the organisers of the event were clearly trying to drive on the tired conversation which has been stalling for a long time in the publishing industry.  Semantics can have a strong effect and I did feel that there was renewed energy and determination shown by speakers and delegates at the conference.  There was a focus openness and accessibility rather than a defining of differences and analysis of the norm versus the “other” in the publishing industry as things stand.

In her keynote speech, Crystal Mahey-Morgan, founder of OWN IT!, reminded us that books lead to readers developing empathy, and empathy leads to humanity.  I only learned about this proven link between reading and the development of empathy and morals when reading Maryanne Wolf’s wonderful Proust and the Squid (which incidentally I would recommend to anyone interested in literacy, reading, neurology and sociology), so whilst a lot of people in the book industry may know about the importance of reading for society, Mahey-Morgan’s words were a powerful reminder.

Charities like Beanstalk do important work in getting into schools to promote reading to all, but I know from observing my own children learning to read, that in order for a person to want to read, the content needs to be engaging and interesting.  None of us expect our friends and family to necessarily share all of our interests or preferences, so we already accept a variety of genres and content, but the consensus at the Building Inclusivity conference was that the books published in the UK are not wholly representative of our society or meeting its needs.

Recruitment & Inclusivity

It was clearly felt that there is a correlation between what is published and who is working in publishing and that’s where the recruitment side of things comes into play.  The industry needs to be more than just “open” to recruiting from outside of the traditional profile of publishing people but needs to make an effort to demonstrate the desire to be inclusive and take measure to increase accessibility to a wider pool of prospective employees.

At the conference, employers were encouraged to make a pledge as what measures they would aim to take after the conference in order to play an active part in creating a publishing industry that is inclusive and representative of our society as a whole.

My pledge on the day to do more at the grass roots level with Beanstalk was inspired by looking at what we could do personally at Atwood Tate to help bring a love of reading to a wider range of children.  Crystal Mahey-Morgan’s words about humanity and the story of author Robyn Travis struck a chord with me, as a governor at a primary school in a deprived area, where a lot of children a brought up in homes without books.

However, we at Atwood Tate also want to make it our pledge to ensure that we are providing as much advice and support to our publisher clients, as possible to help them to promote equal opportunities in recruitment and share ideas as to how to establish working practices to safeguard against prejudice and promote inclusivity and equality.

We are not HR consultants or expert advisors, but we can offer the following:

  • As trained members of the REC, we all have a solid understanding of all applicable legislation and Atwood Tate embraces diversity and seeks to promote the benefits of diversity in all of our business activities and to develop a business culture that reflects that belief.
  • Through our daily work and attending industry events and REC round table meetings we keep up to date with new trends and initiatives. We can share the knowledge and insight we have about what is being done in publishing and other industries to improve inclusivity in recruitment processes.
  • We are expert at writing engaging and non-discriminatory job advertisements and we are able to advertise widely and reach out to candidates outside of the publishers traditional networks.

What are your thoughts on inclusivity in publishing? Let us know in the comments below or contact us on our social media sites: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or Instagram.

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Building Inclusivity in Publishing

Our consultant Helen Speedy will be attending the Building Inclusivity in Publishing conference run by the Publishers’ Association and the London Book Fair. The day-long conference will look at each component of the publishing industry and the representation of people in each area, from authors to consumers.

You can read more about the event and the speakers attending at our blog here. As an equal opportunities employer and business we feel this is a very important event and one we can’t wait to hear about in further detail. Expect a blog post shortly after the event to summarise the main points featured.

If you are attending the event let us know via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or Instagram. And be sure to say hello to Helen if you see her!

Building Inclusivity in Publishing

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Equal Opportunity and Diversity in Publishing

 

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Building Inclusivity in Publishing Event

On the 15th November our consultant Helen will be attending the Building Inclusivity in Publishing event, run by the Publishers Association and the London Book Fair.

The day-long conference will look at each component of the publishing industry and the representation of people in each area, from authors to consumers.

The day will encourage the attendees to re-evaluate their ideas of diversity and to see who the real audience are, by drawing on positive examples and personal experiences! By the end of the conference the attendees will know how to build inclusivity within the publishing industry!

As an Equal Opportunities company Atwood Tate are very keen on spreading the word on inclusivity throughout Publishing! Within our company we never discriminate against the candidates, clients or employees we work with, we encourage diversity in publishing! For more information on our Equal Opportunities and Diversity policy click here.

The Inclusivity conference will include panels and speakers from all areas of publishing, including authors, agents and booksellers. Here’s the Conference Programme.

Speakers Include:

  • Crystal Mahey-Morgan, founder, OWN IT! Publishing
  • Robyn Travis, author, Mama Can’t Raise No Man
  • Tim Hely Hutchinson, Group CEO, Hachette UK
  • Louise Clarke, Latimer Group
  • Diana Broccardo, Profile Books
  • Emad Ahmed, Creative Access and ex-News Statesman
  • Sunny Singh, academic and author, co-founder Jhalak Prize
  • Siena Parker, Penguin Random House
  • Jessica Kingsley, Jessica Kingsley Publishers
  • Jazzmine Breary, Jacaranda

And many others! For a full list of speakers see here! Conference Speakers.

The panels and case studies look fascinating and we can’t wait to hear the thoughts of everyone who attends!

Be sure to watch out in the days after the conference for a summary blog about the event and the level of inclusivity in publishing, and please say hello to Helen if you see her!

In the meantime we will be on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram to cover the conference! Let us know if you’re attending.

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