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

 

Diversity and equality in libraries: as services, as workplaces

In general, libraries are considered as inclusive institutions, where all users expect to receive the same level of service regardless of personal characteristics such as age, gender, marital status, race, religion, sexual orientation or social class.

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Demographics of the UK information professions: fact sheets published by CILIP and ARA

This week the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) and the Archives and Records Association (ARA) published a series of 24 fact sheets on the demography of the UK workforce in libraries, archives, records, information management, and knowledge management. The data, presented in the fact sheets by sector and region, derive from the findings of the Workforce Mapping Project.

This project was completed in 2014/15 by an Edinburgh Napier University team that comprised three staff from the Centre for Social Informatics (Hazel Hall, Christine Irving and Bruce Ryan) and three from the Employment Research Institute (Robert Raeside, Tao Chen and Matthew Dutton). In November 2015 CILIP and ARA used data from the final project report to publish the headline findings from the study. Continue reading

A week in Aberdeen at iDocQ and i3 2015 #iDocQ2015 #i3rgu

Seven weeks of dissemination

When Leo Appleton presents the slides for our joint-authored paper on the value and impact of public library services on citizenship development at the 11th Northumbria International Conference on Performance Measurement in Libraries and Information Services today, this will mark the end of a busy conference season for the staff and research students in the Centre for Social Informatics. Continue reading

What is the future of libraries? An Edinburgh Reads event, Tuesday 9th June 2015

Edinburgh Reads logo The opening ceremony for Edinburgh Central Library took place 125 years ago on 9th June 1890. On that day the Library’s benefactor Andrew Carnegie sent a telegram in which he stated his hopes for the service that he had funded: “We trust that this Library is to grow in usefulness year after year, and prove one of the most potent agencies for the good of the people for all time to come”.

As part of Edinburgh City Libraries’ 125th anniversary celebrations Edinburgh Reads is hosting a panel session on Tuesday 9th June at 19:00 at which the future of libraries will be the main topic of discussion. I have accepted an invitation to join the panel. The other panel members are:

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More men wanted – to complete the Workforce Mapping Project survey

Workforce mapping project banner
The Workforce Mapping Project survey is found at http://bit.ly/workforcemap

The Workforce Mapping Project survey closes at the end of the month on Thursday 30th April. The Edinburgh Napier project team is keen to encourage those who work within the UK in roles associated with libraries, archives, records, information, and knowledge management, and who have not already done so, to make their contributions to the study.

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Put yourself on the map: complete the Workforce Mapping Project survey

Workforce mapping project bannerThe Workforce Mapping Project survey is live at http://bit.ly/workforcemap

This is a call to workers in the library, archives, records, information, and knowledge management sector to contribute to a research project by completing a short survey. If you work in this sector, please read on to learn more about the project and how you can contribute to it.

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