Diversity & Inclusion
We are committed to maintaining a work environment in which equality, diversity, and opportunity are promoted.
OUP has five diversity and inclusion (D&I) goals which aim to support our people and create a diverse and inclusive culture, so we can better reflect the markets we operate in and the customers we work with.
To help further our ambitions, we set up new D&I committees in a number of OUP offices, including Brazil, Cary, Canada, and Hong Kong. These are in addition to the committees already established in the UK, New York, South Africa, Australia, and India, and contribute to our global D&I goals by organizing events, raising awareness on the importance of D&I issues, and helping OUP to launch new initiatives both at a global and a local level.
Alongside our D&I committees, our employee-led networks also help to foster an inclusive culture. These include our Befriender Network, which provides support to anyone going through a challenging experience; the OUP Women’s Network, which facilitates the career progression of women across the organization; the BAME (Black, Asian and minority ethnic) Network, which is a social network for BAME colleagues and allies in the UK; and our LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (or queer)) Network, which promotes LGBTQ+ inclusion across OUP.
Approximately 450 OUP employees are active members of our committees and networks. Together, they undertook various activities throughout the year, including:
- our New York D&I committee developing Reference Editorial Best-Practice Guidelines which advises employees how to better-incorporate D&I into their work, and is being adapted for wider use across OUP's editorial departments
- running Mental Health Essentials Awareness Training for employees in Australia to increase awareness of signs of mental health issues in the workplace, as well as establishing a Wellbeing Committee to develop, implement, and review workplace wellbeing
- our Recruitment and Retention Committee supporting diverse recruitment across OUP by identifying ways to make our head office more accessible; setting up a framework for fairer work experience; and working with Yellow Submarine—a local charity to support people with learning disabilities and autism—to create future work experience and employment opportunities
- our Content and Promotion Committee proactively seeking BAME authors and illustrators; developing products with accessibility guidelines in mind so that everyone can engage with our content; developing products that highlight diversity and inclusion; and creating stories with lead BAME characters such as young fiction series Ballet Bunnies—as part of this work, the Committee gathered the views of employees through an inclusive content workshop, attended by approximately 100 people; and
- our LGBTQ+ and BAME networks running an open mic fundraising event in Oxford to celebrate music, poetry, and arts in the LGBTQ+ and BAME communities.
This year, we launched a Global Inclusion Programme which helps employees recognize and tackle unconscious bias. So far, 1,404 employees, including 420 managers, have taken part in the programme, with 92 per cent saying the workshop helped them to understand unconscious bias and its business impact, and around three quarters of attendees saying they can now confidently identify when bias is influencing their choices or decisions. A further 83 per cent of attendees said that they feel safe to be their authentic self at work. Additionally, in our US, India, and Pakistan offices, all employees took part in anti-sexual harassment workshops.
We also increased our focus on supporting wellbeing and mental health among employees. In the UK, we piloted Managing Mental Health workshops for UK managers, which were attended by 112 people. Everyone who took part said that they would recommend the training to others, and 81 per cent said they now feel confident in managing mental health challenges among their team members. In Oxford, the employee-led Befriender Network ran several talks for employees to support World Suicide Prevention Day (10 September), including sessions by the Oxford Samaritans and the Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust. For Baby Loss Awareness Week, the Befriender Network also gave individuals the opportunity to speak to a befriender for friendship and support.
Colleagues in Australia supported World Mental Health Day by running mindfulness sessions; holding a ‘Stress Down Day’ where employees could come to work in slippers or comfortable clothing; and holding a raffle to raise funds for mental health charity Reach Out Australia. Meanwhile, our D&I committee in Brazil ran a mental health awareness campaign and shared information on dealing with stress, depression, and anxiety.
OUP also partnered with different organizations to help us achieve our longer-term ambitions, including Stonewall—an organization which campaigns for the equality of the LGBTQ+ community—and Pathways into Children’s Publishing—a programme which aims to increase diversity among the next generation of children’s illustrators.