Supporting our people

We want OUP to be a diverse, inclusive organization where people feel that they belong, where anyone can thrive, and where we empower our people—and those that we work with—to be themselves.
We also want to ensure that all colleagues have access to equal opportunities to develop their careers.
At the heart of our Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) efforts are our guiding principles:

Inclusion First: Creating an inclusive environment where we acknowledge our differences and seek diverse perspectives. ​

Conscious Diversity: Acknowledging and addressing our unconscious biases to help us to build diversity within OUP.

We are working towards the following D&I targets and representation aims:
  • 50% women in leadership positions by 2024
  • Improve ethnicity representation to mirror in-country demographics
We have increased women's representation at leadership level from 42% in December 2019 to 44% in December 2021.

Underpinning our work is our mandatory Global Inclusion Programme, which helps colleagues to learn, reflect, and understand more about unconscious bias and inclusive behaviours. This year, 4,369 colleagues from 56 countries completed the programme.

To ensure our recruitment processes support equality, diversity, and inclusion:
  • Partnering with Creative Access and S4S (Services 4 Schools) to help students from minority groups secure placements on our UK internship and work experience programmes.
  • Working with JobTarget to post all available USA job roles on targeted diversity sites and conduct recruitment visits to colleges and universities with large and diverse student bodies, to support recruitment for our summer intern programme and entry-level vacancies.
  • Adopting a ‘hiring-panel’ approach in the USA where candidates are interviewed by volunteer staff to foster ‘conscious diversity’.
To support employee wellbeing, we created a Wellbeing Charter to ensure that everybody’s overall wellbeing—emotional, physical, and financial—is actively supported. As part of this, we asked our managers to host Tea and Talk sessions to encourage conversation and support the mental health of our colleagues.

In addition to these steps, and to support Diversity & Inclusion efforts in the wider publishing industry, we have an ongoing partnership with Pathways to mentor, design, and host masterclasses that connect publishers with aspiring illustrators from ethnic minority groups.

We have also been taking steps to improve representation and accessibility within our content and products (see Increasing D&I in our content and products case study).

While many of our initiatives span multiple markets, individual offices have also taken action to support our global goals:

  • OUP Latin America identified the need to create D&I training materials in languages other than English so created LinkedIn Learning courses in both Spanish and Portuguese.
  • OUP Australia hosted an accessibility workshop focused on establishing an accessible environment for colleagues and customers living with disability, and to help individuals with special needs when it comes to accessing our content.
  • OUP Pakistan hosted speaker sessions to celebrate the extraordinary achievements of inspiring women throughout history.
  • OUP USA launched a learning series within the Research Editorial community—made up of editorial teams from the UK, USA, and India—where colleagues can host conversations on different D&I topics of interest with their colleagues.
'While leaders champion our goals, we know that, in order to attract diverse talent and make OUP a place where everyone is empowered to thrive, we all must co-own the agenda and consciously create an inclusive culture.’

Parul Pandey Global Talent, Learning and Diversity Director

Career development

We want every colleague, from new starters to the highest levels of management, to have the opportunity to develop their skills and career.

Our focus this year has been on supporting all managers and teams with new ways of working including hybrid working, matrix working, and new operational structures.

We launched the Virtual Global Induction platform to provide a positive onboarding experience to all new starters, whether they were working in the office or remotely. It brings together in one place all the information a new starter needs. Feedback shows that new starters feel welcome, connected to colleagues both globally and locally, and pleased to be part of OUP.

Building our Product Management capability has been another key achievement. Since May 2021, we have delivered almost 300 externally accredited training modules to colleagues working in the Product function area. This is been supported by internal workshops to further champion the concepts underpinning Product Management.

In addition to this, we created the Sales Development Programme to offer all sales colleagues a suite of skills-related blended learning programmes. In December, this programme was endorsed by the Institute of Sales Professionals, a government backed not-for-profit professional body representing sales in the UK and around the world.

Other highlights included...

Rolling out of Management Matters—a virtual training programme for managers to improve performance in hybrid and remote working environments.

Supporting colleagues to gain professional coaching skills and establishing a coaching pool to support colleagues in transformation roles.

Establishing apprenticeships that focus on digital skills for new and existing colleagues.

‘We strive to ensure that colleagues have every opportunity to apply their unique skills and personality in a way which facilitates a rewarding career and helps us deliver our mission.’

Lesley Sommerville Group HR Director

Case studies

Supporting career development for women and under-represented groups

Increasing D&I in our content and products

Addressing inequalities in South Africa

Increasing gender diversity through the 30% Club