Last week the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) and the Archives and Records Association (ARA) held a launch event in London. Here an executive summary of the Workforce Mapping Project, with which I have been heavily involved over the past 15 months, was presented. The summary distributed at the launch notes key findings of the study.
- The estimated size of the UK workforce in the Library, Archives, Records, Information Management, and Knowledge Management professions is 86,376.
- Women dominate the workforce (78.1% of the workforce is female, and 21.9% male), yet earn less than men, and are not so well represented in senior management positions.
- The workforce is highly qualified: 61.4% hold postgraduate academic qualifications.
- The workforce is ageing: 55.3% of its members are over 45 years of age. (The equivalent figure for the UK workforce as a whole is 41.1%.)
- There is low ethnic diversity in the workforce: 96.7% identify as ‘white’.
The executive summary also provides commentary on a number of other themes, such as: the distribution of the workforce across the UK in terms of work domains, sectors and regions; career indicators such as professional qualifications and memberships, job status, working hours, contracts and pay; and workforce member characteristics such as relationship status, parenting and caring responsibilities, and health and well being.
These findings are taken from the full project report completed in October 2015 by the project team that I led at Edinburgh Napier University. Six Edinburgh Napier staff were involved in the work:
- Professor Hazel Hall, Dr Bruce Ryan and Christine Irving from the Centre for Social Informatics
- Professor Robert Raeside, Dr Tao Chen, and Dr Matthew Dutton from the Employment Research Institute
Initially commissioned to undertake the project in August 2014, our work included reviewing the literature on workforce mapping (both within the information professions and more widely in other areas, such as health and education), completing detailed analyses of UK labour force statistics, and the collection of empirical data by survey for analysis.
We are pleased to have been involved in this work because it is the first national workforce mapping study of the five domains (Library, Archives, Records, Information Management, and Knowledge Management) ever undertaken in any country worldwide. Our findings should generate real impact because they provide CILIP and ARA (and others) with a strong evidence base for future advocacy work. This evidence is much more robust than that found in other sources – such as the UK Labour Force Survey – due to the size and nature of the survey sample.
CILIP and ARA intend to make further details of the study available to their membership in the coming months. Their members will find these both interesting and useful, for example for bench-marking purposes.
In the meantime, I find it amusing to note that – on the basis of the summary findings that have already been released – but for two words I match the profile of a ‘typical’ member of this workforce. If you are white, female, aged between 45 and 55, live with your spouse/partner, hold postgraduate and professional qualifications, and work in a full-time permanent paid post in an English university library, you may well be the ‘typical’ UK information worker.