Survey data highlights imbalances in workplace experiences, depending on age, ethnicity, gender, and geographic location

26th September 2018

New York, US and Bingley, UK, 26 September - The Workplace Equity Project (WE) today released “Global Voices for Workplace Equity: Findings from the WE Survey 2018” – an Executive Summary of the full findings of a survey on workplace experience in the scholarly publishing industry.

Emerald Publishing designed and produced the report that presents an analysis of the responses from 1,182 participants across six continents.

The Summary reports on data and comments gathered from colleagues around the world, offering a wide and international perspective on diversity, inclusivity and equity. Among the key takeaways:

The workforce reflects imbalances in diversity. Survey respondents were 76% female, 81% white, and 83% heterosexual. Men were twice as women likely to be in senior/executive roles, and there was no representation at that level from anyone identifying as Black

The imbalances create inequalities in compensation: fewer women (20%) than men (33%) reporting earnings of more than $100,000. Black respondents predominantly fall in the lower salary bands, despite living in the highest paying region

We are blind to the challenges of others. Respondents’ perceptions of equity suggest a bias based on personal demographics. Men (55%) say they believe people of all genders have equal opportunities for promotion, compared to 37% of women. Comparable blindness to the impact of ethnicity and age on opportunity was also evident

Direct line management practice defines individual experience irrespective of organisational policy. Even though workplace equity initiatives are increasingly available and visible, a recurring theme from respondents is that their own experience is defined more by the attitudes of their manager. 

In addition to a more detailed look at the survey’s findings, “Global Voices for Workplace Equity: Findings from the WE Survey 2018” offers recommendations for how the industry can advance equity by adopting strategies and initiatives for individuals and their organisations to close the gaps. Focus on four areas is proposed for driving cultural change: Curbing unconscious bias, enabling sponsorship and advocacy, facilitating networks, and challenging exclusionary practices. 

A grassroots effort, the WE Project relied on international collaboration with organisations and volunteers to create the survey and reach participants around the world. Initial findings were presented at conferences sponsored by the Society for Scholarly Publishing (1 June), International Society of Managing and Technical Editors (2 August), Research Square (12 September), and ALPSP (13 September). Upcoming events include a panel at the STM conference at Frankfurt on 9 October 2018.

WEP co-founder Jeri Wachter said: “As a key component of organisational excellence, workplace equity has an impact on the bottom line. It is not only about social equality. Studies show that diverse teams are more innovative and achieve better outcomes than homogeneous ones.

WEP co-founder Simone Taylor said: “As our industry addresses critical changes in its business landscape, our capability for responding effectively in an increasingly global ecosystem is thrown into sharper focus. Incorporating perspectives from a wider range of voices than is evident from current leadership structures will enable us to challenge exclusion, and drive the change needed to create a more equitable workplace.”  

WEP co-founder Susan Spilka said: “Success in creating inclusive and equitable workplaces requires changing individual minds and behaviours as well as organisational policies. The WE Survey has heightened awareness and armed us with data that makes an empirical case. We need to commit ourselves and hold our employers accountable.”

Emerald Publishing has taken concrete steps to drive change both at an organisational level and in its role as a publisher participating and communicating the results of international research collaborations, to support the real impact of research. Internally, Emerald established an internal group called STRIDE in 2015 to create positive change in the inclusivity and diverse leadership of the company. CEO Vicky Williams is a vocal advocate for diversity in the scholarly publishing industry and was invited to speak on the issue at the Outsell Women’s Conference in New York in June 2018 and interviewed about her experience in Scholarly Kitchen.

Emerald is a partner in an interdisciplinary research collaboration that has sponsored and funded by the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) to improve equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) within engineering and physical sciences. 

Vicky Williams said: “We recognise there is a lack of diversity within scholarly publishing, and our involvement in initiatives such as Workplace Equity Project, the EPSRC project, and STRIDE highlights our commitment to driving the cause for ensuring greater inclusivity in scholarly publishing and academia as a whole. We’re proud to have such an active voice in raising awareness and working towards a positive change.”