Survey Data Highlights Imbalances in Workplace Experiences, Depending on Age, Ethnicity, Gender, and Geographic Location

Global Voices for Workplace Equity: Findings from the WE Survey 2018” builds the case for structural change in the scholarly publishing industry

New York, US and Bingley, UK September 26, 2018 The Workplace Equity Project (WE) today released “Global Voices for Workplace Equity: Findings from the WE Survey 2018” – an Executive Summary of the full findings of a survey on workplace experience in the scholarly publishing industry. Emerald Publishing designed and produced the report that presents an analysis of the responses from 1,182 participants across six continents.

The Summary reports on data and comments gathered from colleagues around the world, offering a wide and international perspective on diversity, inclusivity and equity.  Among the key takeaways:

  • The workforce reflects imbalances in diversity. Survey respondents were 76% female, 81% white, and 83% heterosexual. Men were twice as women likely to be in senior/executive roles, and there was no representation at that level from anyone identifying as Black. 
  • The imbalances create inequalities in compensation: fewer women (20%) than men (33%) reporting earnings of more than $100,000. Black respondents predominantly fall in the lower salary bands, despite living in the highest paying region.
  • We are blind to the challenges of others.  Respondents’ perceptions of equity suggest a bias based on personal demographics. Men (55%) say they believe people of all genders have equal opportunities for promotion, compared to 37% of women. Comparable blindness to the impact of ethnicity and age on opportunity was also evident.

Direct line management practice defines individual experience irrespective of organizational policy. Even though workplace equity initiatives are increasingly available and visible, a recurring theme from respondents is that their own experience is defined more by the attitudes of their manager.

In addition to a more detailed look at the survey’s findings, “Global Voices for Workplace Equity: Findings from the WE Survey 2018” offers recommendations for how the industry can advance equity by adopting strategies and initiatives for individuals and their organizations to close the gaps. Focus on four areas is proposed for driving cultural change: Curbing unconscious bias, enabling sponsorship and advocacy, facilitating networks, and challenging exclusionary practices.

A grassroots effort, the WE Project relied on international collaboration with organizations and volunteers to create the survey and reach participants around the world. Initial findings were presented at conferences sponsored by the Society for Scholarly Publishing (June 1), International Society of Managing and Technical Editors (August 2), Research Square (September 12), and ALPSP (September 13). Upcoming events include a panel at the STM conference at Frankfurt on October 9, 2018.

WEP co-founder Jeri Wachter said: “As a key component of organizational excellence, workplace equity has an impact on the bottom line. It is not only about social equality. Studies show that diverse teams are more innovative and achieve better outcomes than homogeneous ones.

WEP co-founder Simone Taylor said, “As our industry addresses critical changes in its business landscape, our capability for responding effectively in an increasingly global ecosystem is thrown into sharper focus. Incorporating perspectives from a wider range of voices than is evident from current leadership structures will enable us to challenge exclusion, and drive the change needed to create a more equitable workplace.”

WEP co-founder Susan Spilka said, “Success in creating inclusive and equitable workplaces requires changing individual minds and behaviors as well as organizational policies. The WE Survey has heightened awareness and armed us with data that makes an empirical case. We need to commit ourselves and hold our employers accountable.”

Emerald Publishing has taken concrete steps to drive change both at an organizational level and to support the real impact of research in its role as a publisher participating and communicating the results of international research collaborations. Internally, Emerald established an internal group called STRIDE in 2015 to create positive change in the inclusivity and diverse leadership of the company. CEO Vicky Williams is a vocal advocate for diversity in the scholarly publishing industry and was invited to speak on the issue at the Outsell Women’s Conference in New York in June 2018 and interviewed about her experience in Scholarly Kitchen.

Emerald is a partner in an interdisciplinary research collaboration that has sponsored and funded by the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) to improve equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) within engineering and physical sciences. 

Vicky Williams said: “We recognise there is a lack of diversity within scholarly publishing, and our involvement in initiatives such as Workplace Equity Project, the EPSRC project, and STRIDE highlights our commitment to driving the cause for ensuring greater inclusivity in scholarly publishing and academia as a whole. We’re proud to have such an active voice in raising awareness and working towards a positive change.”

The Workplace Equity Project (WE) is an independent, nonprofit organization that explores and assesses workplace experiences, practices, and opportunities in scholarly publishing. It aims to measurably advance equity in the industry by incorporating perspectives from a wider range of voices than is evident from current leadership structures. WE employs research, communications, and advocacy to raise awareness and promote solutions for organizations across the industry.  It was co-founded by Susan Spilka, Simone Taylor, and Jeri Wachter in 2017.  More information is available at Please follow WE at @WEsurvey,, and

Contact: Susan Spilka
Phone: +1(516) 315-7721

About Emerald Publishing ( Nurturing fresh thinking that makes an impact – Emerald Publishing was founded in 1967 to champion new ideas that would advance the research and practice of business and management. Today, we continue to nurture fresh thinking in applied fields where we feel we can make a real difference, now also including health and social care, education and engineering. We publish over 300 journals, more than 2,500 books and over 1,500 case studies, via our dedicated research platform

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