More than 85 per cent of respondents hold a degree, and more than half hold at least one postgraduate degree. Survey respondents identify as LGBTQ+ at around twice the proportion in the Australian population. While women make up the majority of the Australian publishing workforce, representation from women and non-binary people declines in more senior positions.

The industry is largely white, including a high percentage who identify as British; less than ten percent identify with an Asian culture, and less than 11 per cent with a European (non-British) heritage. Fewer than 1 per cent of Australian publishing industry professionals identify as First Nations.

Just over 5 per cent of respondents have a disability, compared to 9 per cent of the Australian workforce, while 24.7 per cent of people reported a disability and/or a long-term health condition. The results surfaced initial data on wellbeing, with a third of respondents reporting current mental health issues.

AAP President James Kellow said: The Australian Publishing Industry Workforce Survey on Diversity and Inclusion… is a major step in the pursuit of a publishing industry that welcomes and serves all Australians. We have a highly able and committed workforce, but our workforce doesn’t always represent the breadth of our culture. This plays into what and how we publish and the extent to which we reach, or don’t reach, all potential readers… This survey’s hard data tells us we have a great deal of work ahead and provides a solid base from which we can lead change as an association, as publishing houses, and as individuals.

The survey sets a baseline to track the demographic makeup of staff in Australian publishing, and the high level of participation, with 989 respondents, indicates a strong industry desire for greater inclusivity.

With publishing a key industry in telling Australian stories and sharing Australian knowledge and innovation, a better understanding of the industry’s workforce is a move towards improving the diversity of cultural products in Australia.

In response to the report, the Australian Publishers Association has convened a Diversity & Inclusion Working Group, charged with developing an industry action plan. Chaired by Astrid Browne, Managing Director of Hardie Grant Explore, the Working Group will encourage participation from across the industry, with senior leaders supporting publishing staff to participate and propose ideas for action.