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- Publishing: future trends
Publishing: future trends
The publishing sector is facing a much-publicised challenge, with rapid digitisation, and internally there are doubts about whether the industry currently has the requisite skills to adapt quickly enough. This process is set to speed up over the next decade and will continue to make it hard to generate revenue from content alone. There is a risk that the industry could shrink as revenues, particularly from advertising, are likely to fall with the move from physical to digital content. Traditional roles will need to evolve and adapt to new opportunities, and there is increasing demand for skills in entrepreneurship, and for skills which capitalise on the diverse platforms available for delivery and marketing.
The level of hard-to-fill vacancies and skills shortages in the industry is not particularly high at present, which reflects the popularity of the sector and the consequently deep talent pool available. Skills in demand include distribution, sales and marketing, design and development of technology. New entrants to the sector from education are reported as being short of business skills (particularly with regards to e-publishing and entrepreneurialism), technical skills (the industry uses specialist software which many new graduates find unfamiliar, as well as a skills gap in computer programming and web design), developing marketing using new technology, multi-media journalism, and management and leadership.
High staff turnover is a particular problem for small to medium sized businesses. This affects the book industry in particular as well as smaller employers based in the devolved nations and English regions. Recruiting suitably skilled employees can be challenging, especially in IT administration and sales teams. Competition from other sectors for technical staff is fierce, particularly for directory, database and journal publishers. The ability to use IT skills while understanding a business environment is increasingly important [Profile of the Publishing Sector].
The industry relies on the published and copyrighted written word to underpin much creative activity. As a result effective intellectual property rights management in a changing environment is crucial, and this is an area where the industry continues to struggle.
Intellectual property issues and uneven access to online content amongst different sections of the population are allying with the more overt commercial challenges to slow down the migration to online content. Meanwhile, new technology, in the form of tablet technologies such as the Kindle and iPad, and continuing development in smart phones, are impacting strongly on the sector, bringing new challenges and opening up new markets for innovative organisations that are responsive to change. Skills in research and development are crucial to innovation in this area, and doctoral graduates with good IT skills may find increasing opportunities.
In common with other industries, the sector is faced with the challenges of an increasingly globalised population. This potentially opens up new markets, but also brings in new competitors; the sector is, however, felt to be less vulnerable than many others to a third issue of globalisation - potential offshoring of the workforce.
As technology develops and new players - often large conglomerates with diverse corporate identities - enter the sector, supply chains may lengthen and projects become more complex. This will be especially the case as the need to deliver published content across a range of platforms may require diverse teams with a range of skills. This presents a particular challenge to a sector with a large proportion of freelance employees.
The publishing sector does anticipate skills in project management and in logistics to be a likely area of shortage in the future, and doctoral graduates with these skills may find themselves in demand.
Skillset's 2010 Creative Media Employer Survey [Publishing - Labour Market Intelligence Profile] asked employers to identify any potential future skills gaps. Publishing employers predicted that there would be gaps in a wide variety of broad skills areas: sales and marketing (37%), skills in using sector-specific software packages (32%), technical skills (21%), multi-skilling (21%), business skills (21%) and skills to develop content for multiple platforms (21%). In particular, the need to develop a better advertising and sales workforce, and managers able to innovate, deal with change and adapt quickly, are seen as urgent for the sector; doctoral graduates able to demonstrate these skills as a result of their training may find opportunities in publishing.
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