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Are up to 27% of jobs in book publishing “at risk”?

In the bookcareers.com salary survey we asked the question:
“During a usual week, what percentage of your time is taken up working on titles that are digital, eBooks or online publications as opposed to hard copy print?”

The results indicate that 16.3% of respondents are not working on digital products at all, and there are a further 11% who did not answer the question. We might assume this is because they didn’t feel it was a question relevant to them. This gives us a whopping 27.3% who might have no digital experience.

The issue is, with the rest of the industry moving their skills forward in digital publishing, and keeping on top of how the publishing industry is changing, what will happen to those who are not involved in digital at all?

What will happen to their jobs, if their current employers decide to change strategy? Will those jobs be made redundant and new jobs created for which they do not have the relevant skillset to apply? If they are made redundant, what are their chances of being re-employed back within the industry if the only jobs available within the industry require digital skills? We also know that when people go to interviews, having the relevant training is not often enough – employers always demand on the job experience and practical examples of how you have used digital skills in a commercial environment.

These are serious issues that everyone in the industry needs to address. If you are working on digital products, would you be willing to mentor someone who is not? If you are a recruiter or employer, what digital skills and experience would you feel was adequate to employ someone in a digital role, particularly if they came from a non-digital position? If you are one of those in a non-digital role, what can you be doing now to upskill and ensure that you have a future in the industry, whether with your current employer or someone new?

As to the people who I meet who still say they ‘don’t want to do digital’, then you don’t want to do publishing. If you want to see where book publishing is already at, look at some of the output of apps from TouchPress, and check out what the educational publishing market is up to by looking at Collins Connect  and Pearson. Most publishers have made a major investment in interactive and responsive applications. In fact check out what everyone in publishing is doing digitally and ensure you are open to taking your career forward.

In the next blog I aim to talk about the training you can undertake to ensure you don’t get left behind and the resources available . In the meantime, let me have your thoughts about digital skills and what skills employers expect from those who they are recruiting from non-digital roles. Also, if you have a digital resource that could be a good point of reference let me know, either in the comments or via the contact form.

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