Publishing industry lags behind in recruiting black and ethnic minority staff

UK publishers are failing to recruit enough black or minority ethnic (BME) workers to fully reflect the areas they operate in, a report has found.

The Diversity in Publishing Report reveals that a lack of cultural diversity still exists within the publishing industry.

While the majority of UK publishing houses are based in London, the ethnic origin of workers in publishing does not reflect the cultural balance of the capital’s population.

The survey, commissioned by the Diversity in Publishing Network, found that while 28.8% of Londoners are BME, only 7.7% of those working in publishing have a BME background.

Crucially, only 4% of editorial staff are from a BME background and without a culturally diverse set of staff sourcing and mentoring new writers, non-white voices will struggle to be heard, the report concludes.

A spokesman for the network said: “While the moral and commercial reasons for greater ethnic diversity in publishing have never been so evident, this research proves that there is still a long way to go before the industry is truly representative of the culture it serves.”

While recent initiatives to improve the diversity of the UK publishing industry are having a positive impact on recruitment, the report found the largest proportion of BME staff surveyed had been in the industry for less than two years.

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