PRH Updates Its US Workplace Demographics Profile

In Feature Articles by Porter Anderson

A new look at Penguin Random House’s US ‘progress as we work toward a more diverse, equitable and inclusive workplace.’

Image: Getty iStockphoto: William

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

‘A Workforce That Represents the Society We Live In’
As Publishing Perspectives readers will remember, Penguin Random House issued its 2021-2022 Global Social Impact Report earlier—a document we’ve covered in previous iterations here and here.

Now, Penguin Random House has issued a 2022 update on its US workforce demographics and the company’s progress toward its stated goal of “having a workforce that represents the society we live in.”

The announcement is timely, coming just ahead of PRH worldwide CEO Markus Dohle‘s onstage conversation with IPA president Bodour Al Qasimi at the Sharjah Publishers Conference on November 1, during which issues around publishing and diversity may arise—particularly as D0hle and Al Qasimi have made diversity, equality, and inclusion priorities in their respective leadership roles.

More on that professional-program event ahead of Sharjah International Book Fair is here.

In its notes on the graphics provided to us as a 2022 update, PRH’s staff writes, “At Penguin Random House, we strive to create books for everyone; having a workforce that represents the society we live in goes hand-in-hand with achieving this goal.

“Today (October 26) we are releasing our third annual company demographics report, which illustrates our progress as we work toward a more diverse, equitable and inclusive workplace.”

It’s good for our international readership to note that the data points here are for the United States’ division of PRH, which is led by Madeline McIntosh, and not necessarily reflected across the international markets of the world’s largest publishing company.

Several Charts from Penguin Random House

In most cases, these graphics are self-explanatory. We start with a current-year graphic relative to the PRH American workforce, first non-warehouse and then warehouse workforce.

Image: Penguin Random House

Image: Penguin Random House

Image: Penguin Random House

In assessing  Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) representation, information is provided first in marketing and publicity, and then in editorial staffing.

Image: Penguin Random House

Image: Penguin Random House

Image: Penguin Random House

And finally, one of the most challenging areas of staff diversification, the composition of new hires, is represented in a chart provided with the report.

Image: Penguin Random House

‘We’re in This for the Long Haul’

In commentary delivered to the news media, the company reflects on that question of hiring, saying, “This year, we’ve continued to expand our recruitment outreach and partnerships team. Both our manager of diversity recruitment and associate of recruitment in marketing have joined the team that already included our campus recruiter, a role added in late 2020.”

Image: From Penguin Random House’s ‘How To Get Into Publishing’

Each of those positions, the company says, is primarily or fully dedicated to diversity recruitment efforts. 

 “One of our 2022 efforts,” the communication reports, “has been to enhance our employer brand presence on social media to help draw in more candidates from different backgrounds and to supply information to make the publishing industry more accessible to all.

“Our new resource, ‘How to Get into Publishing,’ launched across multiple social channels, provides information and tips to people interested in publishing to help demystify the industry. We also are working on a new ‘Day in the Life’ video series to help candidates outside the publishing industry get a better sense for what we do.”

The company cites expanded campus outreach programs and “efforts to reach mid-level professionals who are interested in making a career shift to publishing.” What’s more, the company says, it’s working to make its job descriptions, postings, and interviews “competency-based and free of bias.

 “At Penguin Random House,” the memo concludes, “we’re in this for the long haul: Having a workforce that is representative of our society will take time, but we will continue to make tangible changes to our workplace culture, systems, and procedures to help us get there.”

More from Publishing Perspectives on Sharjah Publishers Conference is here,  more on Penguin Random House is here, and more on issues of diversity, equality, and inclusion in world publishing is here.

Our Frankfurter Buchmesse Show Magazine now is out for our entire readership in a free digital download for our world readership online. The magazine originally appeared in print on the Messe Frankfurt as Frankfurt Book Fair opened October 19.

The magazine has extensive coverage of issues and trends that are leading discussions and debates at the trade show this year, along with interviews, profiles, and commentary in this strongly attended Frankfurt year. Click here for your download (PDF).

Publishing Perspectives is the International Publishers Association’s global media partner.

More from us on the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on international book publishing is here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.