The full output of the Workforce Mapping Project that I led in 2014/15 as commissioned research for the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) and the Archives and Records Association (ARA) has been released. This is now available as a download from CILIP and from ARA (free of charge for members, £40 for others).
Mapping the library, archives, records, information and knowledge management and related professions in the United Kingdom presents the findings of the most extensive survey of its kind anywhere in the world to date. The research was carried out by a team of six at Edinburgh Napier University: three from the Centre for Social Informatics (myself, Christine Irving, and Dr Bruce Ryan), and three from the Employment Research Institute (Professor Robert Raeside, Dr Matthew Dutton, and Dr Tao Chen).
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.
The key findings from the study are:
- 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’.
Since the completion of the research in 2015, CILIP, ARA and their members have been using its output to better understand the library and information sector, to monitor trends in the workforce, to support their advocacy work, to develop relevant and robust policies, and to develop their services. The release of the full report is to support wider sector development, to help improve academic research into the information sector, and to empower the members of the two professional bodies in their places of work.
CILIP CEO, Nick Poole said:
“We are delighted to announce the release of this significant dataset in partnership with the Archives and Records Association (ARA). As professional associations, we need to ensure that all of our decisions and priorities are evidence-based. The Workforce Mapping data has provided a strong foundation for our Diversity and Equality Action Plan, launched last year, and will help us to define the targets in our forthcoming Workforce Strategy. We hope that this release will allow others to interrogate the data and to share their insights back into our community for the collective benefit of the profession.”
ARA CEO, John Chambers said:
“This has been a great example of two professional bodies working together, and I’m grateful to CILIP colleagues for their inclusiveness and commitment throughout this project. The survey has provided hard evidence of what many of us instinctively knew or had suspected for some time: that despite having a workforce dominated by women, we have a disproportionate number of men in senior management positions and a significant gender pay gap. Add to that our underperformance in wider diversity, and it is clear that we all have a lot to do as a sector and as a profession. The ARA is making a start on pay through our Pay Review Group and on diversity through our new Professional Development Programme and its associated qualifications. Now it’s time for others to explore the survey findings and derive further, more detailed insights and recommendations.’
A number of other resources related to the project have also been made available since 2015, as listed below.
- August 2017 – contribution to McMaster Library symposium: Hall, H. (2017). Defining the UK information worker: the CILIP-ARA Workforce Mapping Project. Paper presented at McMaster University Library Symposium, McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada 15 August 2017. [Abstract available from blog post; slides available from SlideShare.]
- October 2016 – contribution to ASIST conference: Hall, H.. & Raeside, R. (2016). Mapping the UK information workforce in the library, archives, records, information management, knowledge management and related professions. In: Proceedings of the 79th Annual Meeting of the Association for Information Science and Technology Annual Meeting, 53(1), 1-4. [Full text available from publisher; full text available from the Edinburgh Napier repository.]
- June 2016 – fact sheets by sector and region: See Demographics of the UK information professions: fact sheets published by CILIP and ARA.
- November 2015 – executive summary of main project findings: See Who is the ‘typical’ UK information worker? Headline findings of the CILIP/ARA Workforce Mapping Project.