Tag Archives: Publishers Association

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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Q&A Round Up

Last week was the Publishers Association’s #workinpublishing week! We did a Q&A on Twitter – if you missed it, you can catch up here.

Q: What are the key features recruiters look for in a CV and Cover Letter when recruiting for entry level publishing jobs?

A: Office/admin experience is useful across the board, as are work experience, internships or temp roles in publishing houses! A well written, clear and concise cover letter will also get you a long way.

Q: How important do you think events like literary events and trade shows are?

A: Getting to know people at industry events can be really useful, especially as you can get a feel for different roles and sectors! Having said that, it’s not compulsory, so if you don’t live in London and you can’t get to events easily, don’t worry!

Q: When considering a job offer, it’s not just about salary. What else should candidates be thinking about?

A: Consider what’s important to you – the commute time, flexible working opportunities, training/professional development and company benefits!

Q: What are the most desirable additional tools to have experience in?

A: It depends on the role! But skills like InDesign, social media, general admin/database experience are useful for a lot of publishing work.

Q: I have a lot of volunteer experience with indie pubs, and I’m starting to look for my first publishing job. What would you say my next step should be?

A: Sounds like you should start applying for entry-level roles! You’d also be a great temping candidate, which can sometimes lead to long term roles.

Q: how can I make myself stand out from the hundreds of other graduates when applying for jobs?

A: Make your cover letter stand out by talking about your work experience, any temp roles, admin experience, and extracurricular interests which give you transferable skills!

Q: Are entry level publishing roles hard to come by? I feel like I haven’t seen many around since I graduated.

A: Entry-level roles are VERY competitive so get filled quickly, but a great way to get your foot in the door is through temping! Register with us for temping opportunities and we may be able to help.

Q: What are the most in demand roles in publishing?

A: Most people want to work in editorial, but publishers are always looking for Commissioning Editors and Production Controllers!

Q: What are your top tips for writing a good CV?

A: Be clear and concise, use bullet points, and put most relevant experience at the top! No long paragraphs please! For more tips see our blog post here.

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Unconscious Bias

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending a fascinating workshop on unconscious bias, held by the Publishers Association and the Publishing Training Centre. Here’s what I learned:

You may have heard of it before but for the majority of us, this is something that is happening (you guessed it!) unconsciously. It is essentially snap judgements our brains make about people and situations, based on our own cultural backgrounds and experiences.

We all like to think of ourselves as enlightened and working hard to create an all-inclusive environment at work. It is built into the mission statement of most companies. So it’s scary to think that in spite of our determination to diversify, our brains are subtly leading us to assumptions about people that we may not realise but which have we have become conditioned to, due to our own experiences that happened to us in our formative years.

But don’t feel distressed that you may be guilty of unconscious bias, the experts say it’s perfectly natural. There is no way to reach adulthood without holding some unconscious bias. The important thing is to be aware of it as a phenomenon. Once we become aware of the associations our brains are making, we can resist falling into those patterns of thinking and treat everyone we encounter as the individuals they are.

Companies have been growing increasingly aware of the issue. For example, Interview panels are typically made up of several people to ensure one person’s unconscious bias doesn’t influence the final decision. Likewise, there are tests you can take which help you to recognise your own personal preferences and prejudices – like the Harvard Implicit Association Test, which was created to increase awareness about unconscious bias.

The good news is that more and more people are talking about it, and recognising a problem is always the first step towards resolving it. When we all take ownership for our unconscious biases, the sooner we can make efforts to resist them and to think clearly about people based on their merits and not our own cultural baggage.

For more info, check out the The Publishers Association website and their blog including Tackling Diversity: a PA workshop and lots more info on Diversity and Equality.

There’s also a guide to Creating a Representative Publishing Industry (click on the front cover of the guide).

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