Defining the UK information worker: the CILIP/ARA Workforce Mapping Project #lib_research17

Senator William McMaster, founder of McMaster University

William McMaster

Yesterday I delivered a presentation about social media research undertaken by staff and students within the Centre for Social Informatics at Edinburgh Napier University (slides available on SildeShare) at McMaster University.

Today I am returning to campus to contribute to the McMaster Library Research Symposium 2017.

At this event I will be relating the main findings of the CILIP/ARA Workforce Mapping Project completed in 2014/15, and the impact of the work to date. The slides for my presentation are available on SlideShare, and below.

 

In the presentation I will first explain the purpose of the research: to enhance the understanding of the UK’s workforce in Library, Archives, Records, Information, Knowledge Management, and related professional roles. Then I will introduce the project team – myself, Christine Irving and Dr Bruce Ryan of the Centre for Social Informatics, and Professor Robert Raeside, Dr Matthew Dutton and Dr Tao Chen of Edinburgh Napier’s Employment Research Institute – and outline the two main project phases of this ‘ambitious project’.

I will then draw attention to some of the main findings from the analysis of data supplied in 9,103 usable survey returns:

  • The estimated population of information workers is 86,376 people, 21.6% of whom work in higher education, and 12.6% in public libraries, and 59.4% in libraries
  • The majority of the workforce works in England, with high proportion in London (22.6%) and the south east (19.4%)
  • The nation with the highest proportion of senior roles is England (8%, as opposed to 7.5% in Wales, 7.3%, and 3% in Northern Ireland)
  • The workforce is well qualified: 61.4% hold postgraduate qualifications (and 57.2% hold professional qualifications, and 53.6% hold professional memberships)
  • When compared with the general working population information workers appear to be well paid – but this conclusion need to be treated with caution given that this workforce is highly qualified, and there is evidence of long service and low pay
  • The highest earners are professionally qualified men, who hold professional memberships, work in Records, Information and Knowledge Management, and are based in commerce, business, higher education, national libraries, and law
  • The workforce is dominated by women (78.1%) – yet women earn less than men, and are less likely to hold senior roles
  • There is low ethnic diversity in the workforce: 96.7% identified as ‘white’ (the UK figure as a whole at the time of the study was 87.5%)
  • The workforce is ageing: 55.3% is over 45 years of age (the UK figure as a whole at the time of the study was 41.1%)

In the second part of the presentation I will consider the impact of the project. Initial press interest in the findings focussed on the issues of (1) low ethnic diversity and (2) the gender pay gap. The media also noted CILIP’s call for a National Library and Skills Strategy, which was made at the time of the project launch.

Not long after the completion of the project, in March 2016, its findings contributed to a Department of Media, Culture and Sport (DCMS) consultation on the future of public libraries, with a commitment to a Public Library Skills Strategy. Such a strategy was published last month in July 2017. A further ‘external’ impact of the work has been the impetus for additional research in the domain, such as a Masters study on the reception of the project findings related to diversity.

CILIP has used the project findings internally for a number of purposes:

  1. Policy development, for example to inform its business plan and targets for growth, its Workforce Development Strategy, and its Equalities and Diversity Action Plan
  2. Marketing in general, for example some project data is now included in the standard slide deck that CILIP staff use in presentations
  3. Marketing of membership and qualifications, for example the project data has informed decisions on regions and sectors to target

 

Information: interactions and impact (i3) 2017 review #i3rgu

CSI staff Peter Cruickshank, Dr Laura Muir, Professor Hazel Hall & Visiting Professor Brian Detlor at #i3RGU

Centre for Social Informatics colleagues Peter Cruickshank, Dr Laura Muir, Professor Hazel Hall & Visiting Professor Brian Detlor gather at #i3RGU

Information: interactions and impact (i3) 2017 took place at Robert Gordon University at the end of last month from Tuesday June 27th until Friday June 30th 2017, with a packed programme for delegates who had travelled to Aberdeen from across the world. As in previous years, staff and research students from the Centre for Social Informatics (who didn’t have too far to travel) enjoyed participating at the event. We delivered a total of nine papers, as summarised in the table below. Continue reading

Centre for Social Informatics at the Edinburgh Napier University research conference 2017 #NapRes17

CSI colleagues Frances Ryan, Hazel Hall, Iris Buunk, Brian Detlor, David Jarman (Business School), Bruce Ryan, Peter Cruickshank, Lyndsey Jenkins and Lynn Killick

Centre for Social Informatics colleagues Frances Ryan, Hazel Hall, Iris Buunk, Brian Detlor, David Jarman (Business School), Bruce Ryan, Peter Cruickshank, Lyndsey Jenkins and Lynn Killick at the Edinburgh Napier Research Conference 2017 (Photo credit Bill Buchanan)

It’s currently conference season in academia and over the past couple of weeks the staff and research students from my research group have participated in a number of events, both in Edinburgh and beyond. Indeed PhD student Alicja Pawluczuk is still on the road this week, flying the flag for the Centre for Social Informatics at the 2017 British HCI Conference, organised by the HCI research groups at the University of Sunderland and Edinburgh Napier University in conjunction with the Interaction Specialist Group of BCS. Continue reading

Looking forward to i3 and iDocQ 2017 #i3rgu #iDocQ2017

i3 logoEvery other year the Information: interactions and impact (i3) conference brings an international community of academic and practitioner researchers together in Aberdeen to explore the quality and effectiveness of the interactions between people and information, and how such interactions can bring about change. In the years in which it takes place, i3 is one of the highlights of the conference season. (For a flavour of the event please see my review from two years ago, and the others to which I link in my 2015 post.) Continue reading

Information Literacy for Democratic Engagement (IL-DEM) project: findings

Information Literacy group logoPeter Cruickshank, Dr Bruce Ryan and I recently completed the Information Literacy for Democratic Engagement (IL-DEM) project. This work set out to investigate levels of digital and information literacy within Scotland’s Community Council system. It was supported by a grant from the CILIP Information Literacy Group.

We explored how community councillors develop the skills required to inform and engage with the citizens that they represent, and how libraries support this work. In doing so have extended further two established research streams within the Centre for Social Informatics: (1) Cruickshank and Ryan’s work on digital engagement in local democracy (such as our DigiCC workshops), and (2) mine with Christine Irving on information literacy and life-long learning. This work also builds upon our group’s track record in library and information science research. Continue reading

Information Literacy for Democratic Engagement: project update #IL-DEM

Information Literacy group logoThe Centre for Social Informatics is currently undertaking a project entitled Information Literacy for Democratic Engagement (IL-DEM).  Supported by a grant from the CILIP Information Literacy Group, our work investigates levels of digital and information literacy within Scotland’s Community Council system.

Specifically Peter Cruickshank, Dr Bruce Ryan and I are exploring how community councillors develop the skills required to inform and engage with the citizens that they represent, and how libraries support this work. In doing so we’re extending two established research streams within the Centre for Social Informatics: Cruickshank and Ryan’s work on digital engagement in local democracy (such as our DigiCC workshops), and mine with Christine Irving on information literacy and life-long learning. This work also builds upon our group’s track record in library and information science research. Continue reading