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

 

A return visit to McMaster University in August 2017

Dr Brian Detlor

Dr Brian Detlor

Later in summer 2017 I will be visiting McMaster University Ontario, Canada to work with my Canadian collaborator, and Visiting Professor to the Centre for Social Informatics at Edinburgh Napier University, Dr Brian Detlor. Amongst the various activities that we have planned, I will be delivering two seminar papers when I am at McMaster.

The first paper entitled ‘Research into social media information practices, and social media information practices for research’ will be presented as part of the DeGroote Business School seminar series on Monday 14th August. The following day, on Tuesday 15th August, I will relate the main findings of the CILIP/ARA Workforce Mapping Project to an audience of librarians at the McMaster Library Symposium in a paper entitled ‘Defining the UK information worker: the CILIP-ARA Workforce Mapping Project’. (The abstracts for these two papers are given below.) Continue reading

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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Poster presentation in Copenhagen: Mapping the UK Information Workforce at #asist2016

Heering Copenhagen

Some colour under a cold grey sky in Copenhagen

I’ve been in Copenhagen since the end of last week, participating at the 79th Annual Meeting of the Association for Information Science and Technology. I’ve been enjoying the presentations – from Greg Welch‘s keynote on telepresence to Debbie Rabina‘s account of research of prisoners’ information needs examined through discourse analysis – and catching up with colleagues from around the world.

There’s some really interesting work being conducted in Information Science across the globe, and I’ve learnt about some tempting job opportunities too. For example, if you’re functionally bilingual in English and French, and looking for a tenure-track position in North America, the University of Ottawa’s School of Information Studies – l’École des sciences de l’information (ÉSIS) – is hoping to recruit an Associate Professor who can make contributions to teaching and research in  library and information management. Do contact Mary Cavanagh (mary.cavanagh@uottawa.ca,@mfcavanagh) if this is of interest to you. I’ve also managed to play tourist a little with a short visit the city (in the cold and grey) on Sunday morning with my Finnish colleague Gunilla Widen. Continue reading

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

Who is the ‘typical’ UK information worker? Headline findings of the CILIP/ARA Workforce Mapping Project

Workforce Mapping Project executive summary

The executive summary is available from the CILIP web site

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.

These include:

  • 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’.

Continue reading

DREaM Again moves into the data analysis phase

DREaM logoSince the end of May my colleague Dr Bruce Ryan and I have been investigating the long-term impact of the AHRC-funded DREaM project (for which I was Principal Investigator in 2011 and 2012), and the forms that such impact has taken.

As part of this work we have been considering what ‘impact’ means in the context of library and information science (LIS), and how this relates to conceptions of the term in other domains where there is a perceived research-practice gap, such as policing, social work and nursing. This first part of the study has been based on an analysis of the extant literature. We intend to write this up as a review paper.

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