Our impact on society report 2012 People

Pearson has always been a business built on ideas and as such relies on the minds and creativity of our people.

Our People

Our company purpose is to help people make progress in their lives through learning – or to be ‘always learning’. The use of ‘people’ in describing our purpose is deliberate in that this applies as much to the people that work at Pearson as it does to the millions of people who benefit from our products and services.

Pearson has always been a business built on ideas and as such relies on the minds and creativity of our people.

Last year, we set out that Pearson was a business in transition. 2012 saw a continuation of that trend:

  • Digital and services business now account for 50% of revenue – up from 31% in 2007;
  • Emerging markets. Revenue from our businesses in Latin America, China, India, Africa and the Middle East has tripled to $1.2bn in the last five years. 20% of our employees are now located in these markets in readiness for further growth;
  • Technology and services in education. We are changing from being a textbook publisher to a broad-based supplier of education technology and services as well as curriculum materials.

These are significant changes and have long shaped how we think about the structure of our business and the types of people we employ.

These trends will see a significant acceleration in 2013. As part of the vision for the company, Pearson is set to radically shift the pace of our focus on digital and services businesses with a special emphasis on emerging markets.

As part of this shift, we will group markets as:

  • North America, by some distance our biggest market today and for the foreseeable future
  • Growth, including China, India, Brazil and South Africa, which are new centres of gravity which can fuel Pearson’s future growth
  • Core, including the UK, Australia and Italy, where we are already strong and intend to stay that way.

Also part of our transformation is the combination of our consumer publishing business Penguin with Random House which we expect to complete during 2013. We believe that bringing together these two businesses is the best strategy to respond to the rapidly changing consumer book industry.

Our approach

The seven priority people issues for us from a corporate responsibility perspective are:

  • People development. Making sure that we offer the right development opportunities for all our people.
  • Understanding the workforce of the future. As the shape of the business changes, so do our future skills needs. This means that some functions and roles which we currently have will no longer be needed, while new jobs and structures will emerge which we may not yet have considered.
  • Data and analytics. As we grow organically and by acquisition, we need to be able to understand how we are changing both through hard data and by reviewing what people tell us about how we are doing.
  • Collaboration and engagement. Having an efficient way for our people to communicate is important to our business success by helping us to work differently and more efficiently.
  • Diversity and inclusion. As we internationalise and grow, so do the people that work for us. We continue to value and benefit from the insight and experience of people from different backgrounds, perspectives and ways of thinking.
  • Wellbeing. We care deeply about the wellbeing of all employees and their families and we look to create opportunities for everyone to take steps toward healthier living.
  • Health and safety. A duty we share with all organisations is to offer a safe and healthy workplace for the people that work for us.

These continue to be our priorities as our global education strategy develops.

People Case Study

Case study: Pearson Academy for launch in 2013

Pearson Academy is a global community of existing learning groups and people-related development resources and activities from across the company. It will deliver learning and performance management to everyone at Pearson via a single, engaging platform. For the first time, learning and online performance management will be available to anyone at Pearson, anywhere, on any device – and we’ll be able to track learning and performance activity and measure it. Pearson Academy will help us develop better prepared and better skilled people for the future and put learning and development at the core of people’s working experience.

Global faces illustration

Case study: Gender Identity

One of the commitments underpinning our approach is to value diversity. This means recognising that everyone is unique in some way, and that differences should be recognised, respected and valued. As one part of this commitment, Pearson developed detailed guidelines for our people managers to support transgender colleagues. In 2012, we got feedback from Danielle Agee in Pearson Shared Services about how the guidelines have practically helped. ‘Antoinette Harland is the HR manager here and she’s had a lot to do with giving me support; she’s quite on the ball when it comes to Gender Identity issues.’ Our guidelines were developed with input from UK charity GIRES, the gender identity research and education society and Out and Equal in the United States. Pearson is a corporate member of GIRES.

Gender indentity illustration

Case study: Employee Engagement (Advocating for Change: The US Diversity Advocates)

In 2012, we set up a new Diversity Advocates Programme in the United States. It provides an opportunity for Pearson US employees to get involved and work closely with the Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) Team in a structured way to embed D&I into our business operations. The US Diversity Advocates are employees who both apply and have been selected to assist Pearson in aligning our diversity and inclusion strategy across the US and implementing programmes in their local areas and teams. In 2013, the advocates will be working to enhance organizational awareness, communicate regularly on strategy and promote diversity learning and development within our businesses.

Tea cups illustration

Case study: Pearson and Global Corporate Challenge®

In 2012, nearly 7,000 Pearson employees from 44 countries participated in the Global Corporate Challenge® (GCC). They formed teams of seven and tracked their steps to take a virtual ‘trek around the world’. Together, Pearson employees walked over 30 million miles and over half of the participants lost on average 8.5lbs in weight during the 16-week programme. What’s more, 76% of participants said their new activity levels had become a habit and 60% felt more connected to their colleagues. Pearson was named the ‘Second Most Active Company’ out of over 1,200 participating organizations.

For 2013, Pearson is developing a multi-year global wellbeing strategy. The first step in that process is gathering detailed and consistent data about employee health worldwide. A major component of this process is the launch of a personalized online health assessment. For the very first time, employees around the world will receive a comprehensive, tailored health report and this will allow us to determine and focus on the areas of greatest need.

Laptop with Pearson 2012, and CGG on screen