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Bonnier Books UK introduces equal family leave to boost inclusion and representation

Bonnier Books UK will offer employees six months’ equal family leave as part of a series of new actions designed to boost inclusion and representation at the company.

Effective from January 2023, new parents who have worked at Bonnier Books UK for more than two years – irrespective of gender, sexual orientation or how they became parents – will receive six months of full pay.

As part of the company’s 2022 Inclusion & Representation Action Plan, published today (12th September), Bonnier Books UK commissioned a third-party research agency, The Audience Agency, to undertake a review of its publishing lists and workforce, and based on these results, has put together an action plan for progress.

A survey of the company’s workforce demonstrated that, although the company has a balance of gender representation at a senior leadership level, it has more male staff at management level which continues to influence its gender pay gap. The company, which is 71% female and 28% male, also has a growing imbalance of men in its candidate pool (80% female candidates vs 18% male candidates).

Anna MacLaren May, People Director, Bonnier Books UK, said: “We’re consistent in paying men and women fairly and equally in all like-for-like roles, however we’ve identified that the key drivers of the gender pay gap are structural. For example, a challenge for us as an employer continues to be attracting a greater number of women into our operational roles and encouraging more male candidates to apply for our junior publishing roles. Whilst we will be looking at short-term initiatives to drive progress in these areas, we believe the most significant step we can take as an employer is creating a more equitable workplace for everyone and putting in place an equal family leave policy will help us attract, support and retain the most talented people in our industry and beyond.”

Perminder Mann, CEO, Bonnier Books UK said:

“I’ve juggled family and work demands throughout my career so I know how challenging it can be. Since I became CEO three years ago, Bonnier Books UK has been on a journey to become a more inclusive employer and I’m so proud that we’re now offering six months of paid family leave to new parents. Creating a culture that supports equal parenting roles is vital if we’re to achieve a truly equitable workplace where everyone can succeed.”

Other key findings from Bonnier Books UK’s 2022 Inclusion & Representation Action Plan include:

  • The company has seen an 8% increase in multi-ethnic representation across its publishing lists to 17%, more closely representing UK society (14%)
  • Relating to socioeconomic background, just under half of authors and illustrators surveyed were from a professional background and 11% had attended a fee-paying school, down by half from last year (22%)
  • The company has a higher representation of staff from multi-ethnic backgrounds at senior leadership level (20% v 8%) and management levels (14% v 6%) compared to the most recent industry benchmark1, however – overall – the ethnic representation of staff shows little change from 2020 findings, remaining in line with the UK population
  • However, there are signs of progress in this area with fewer candidates than staff identifying as White British (77% staff, 54% candidates)
  • The percentage of respondents identifying as disabled or as having a long-term health condition was highest amongst employees with no management responsibilities and lowest amongst senior leadership
  • Only 5% of staff members said they had a family member working in the creative industries – down from 12% in 2020, suggesting that the company is increasingly offering opportunities to those without existing family connections in publishing

In the report, Bonnier Books UK commits to a range of actions to drive further progress across the company. In addition to equal family leave, the company has committed to partnering with schools to launch a work experience programme to support 16-18 years students from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds and an annual sponsorship of a paid work experience programme in partnership with The Book Trade Charity (BTSB).

Actions delivered as a result of last year’s report include the creation of an industry-leading pregnancy loss policy in consultation with Tommy’s; increased salary levels for interns and increased minimum salaries for junior roles and equality awareness training for all, including additional training for hiring managers.

Based on feedback from survey respondents, Bonnier Books UK will in future publish the report every three years: “It’s been fantastic to see the positive feedback from our authors, illustrators, and staff on this action plan. However, it’s also become clear that – quite rightly, and above all else – they value concrete, tangible action. We believe this is the best way forward to ensure that we continue to track our progress in all areas, whilst prioritising our time and resources to drive meaningful change,” said Mann.

Bonnier Books UK’s 2022 Inclusion & Representation Action Plan can be found here.