Hachette Book Group: BIPOC Diversity at 36.4 Percent

In Feature Articles by Porter Anderson

The newest of four yearly reports from Hachette Book Group sees staff BIPOC diversity increasing by 2.5 percent in 2022.

Image – Getty iStockphoto: Halfpoint

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

Pietsch: ‘Voices and Topics Our Nation Contains’
As Hachette Book Group releases a fourth annual report on its efforts in diversity, equity, and inclusion, it again focuses its messaging on racial criteria.

For clarification, Hachette Book Group is the United States installation of the France-based Hachette Livre. The Workman

Dated Monday (April 10), the new report—centered almost exclusively in the company’s work in increasing its “BIPOC” employee representation—BIPOC for Black, Indigenous, and people of color–shows impressive gains, with almost two-thirds of new hires in 2022 involving non-white personnel.

  • BIPOC personnel comprised 61 percent of the company’s new hires in 2022, compared to 54 percent of new hires in 2021,  and 48 percent in 2020
  • BIPOC employee representation, Hachette Book Group says,  increased “in nearly every publishing group and  non-publishing division.”
  • Overall staff diversity, the company says, increased by 2.5 percent, to 36.4 percent of the company’s employees
  • In the past decade, the publisher reports, diversity at Hachette Book Group “has increased every year, with the percentage of  BIPOC employees increasing from 20.7 percent of our overall population in 2012 to 36.4 percent in 2022—a growth of 76percent.
  • From 2019 to 2022, the percentage of books acquired from BIPOC creators new to Hachette Book Group is reported to have increased by 50 percent, to 33 percent of those acquisitions. “There was a slight decrease of 3 percent in that metric from 2021 to 2022,” the company adds as a caveat.
  • “The percentage of books acquired from all creators, including  returning BIPOC authors and illustrators, increased by 20 percent between 2019 and 2022, to 24 percent of all acquisitions, while year-on-year, that overall total declined by 14 percent.”

Image: Hachette Book Group

In comments, Michael Pietsch, Hachette Book Group’s CEO, is quoted, saying, “At Hachette Book Group [HGB], we believe that promoting diversity and inclusion is not just the right thing to do, it’s vital to our success and growth.

Michael Pietsch

“We remain dedicated to creating a workplace culture that values and celebrates our differences, and to creating publishing programs that more fully reflect the rich array of voices and topics our nation contains.

“I’m  grateful to HBG’s chief diversity officer, Carrie Bloxson, for her vision and leadership across all our DEI [diversity, equity, and inclusion] initiatives, and to the many colleagues across HBG who are instrumental in driving our DEI efforts forward. Their hard work and commitment to creating a more inclusive workplace is a powerful force in our company.”

Carrie Bloxson

And Carrie Bloxson, the diversity officer Pietsch refers to, is quoted, saying, “Our country is extraordinarily diverse, and  we are committing to having a company and a publishing program that reflects that diversity.

“This past year, we welcomed and celebrated the myriad diverse perspectives, talents, and backgrounds that have driven creativity and growth at Hachette Book Group.

“We also are aware of the many challenges we still face—some are new, many persist. Championing diversity and inclusion  and promoting fairness and respect are essential to our culture at HBG. We will not allow this to be a transient moment or passing trend. Our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion is unwavering and ever present.”

Bloxson: ‘Promoting Fairness and Respect’

The new report features several additional observations in terms of diversity.

In leadership interests, for example, Hachette Book Group reports, “While diversity at HBG grew overall, at the level of vice-president and above, it remained the same, at  17.9 percent.

“And at the director level, it decreased to 21.6 percent. We are expanding our human resources team  devoted to recruitment in diverse communities to help us increase growth in this important  area.”

In reaching its 61-percent figure for non-white hires in 2022, the company says it revised its recruitment and hiring processes “to promote inclusivity and eliminate bias,” in part by “expanding outreach to more sources for candidates of color, identifying more than 70 DEI-focused job boards to promote open positions across levels and job functions.”

The company reports that it held 36 recruiting events in 2022, with 1,300 candidates and 45 staffers involved. Its 2022 intern program, the company says, was made of 85-percent BIPOC participants. Office employees reportedly were provided with “a new DEI Learning Session series,” topics of which included “cultural competency, psychological safety, allyship, and bias training for hiring managers.”

In acquisitions, the company reports having increased titles “from BIPOC authors and illustrators new to Hachette Book Group” by 50 percent since 2019.

Partnerships the company cites as being part of its diversity programming include a writing residency “to build a supportive community of Black writers” with the Hurston/Wright Foundation at Rutgers University. There’s also a partnership with Lambda Literary; a program with We Need Diverse Books “to support mid-level publishing professionals from diverse backgrounds”; and more.

Gender and Diversity

Update: There seems to be no mention of gender ratios in the Hachette Book Group workforce, either in C-class leadership roles—the most frequently contested parts of many publishing companies’ workforces—or in the wider personnel base. Particularly in an industry as heavily populated by women in its overall workforce as publishing is in the United States, the factor of gender (and associated issues of pay gaps, benefits, executive representation, and more) is pertinent.

In answer to Publishing Perspectives‘ request, Hachette’s communications lead has quickly provided us with a look at the relevant figures on gender representation in the Hachette Book Group workforce. We’d like to thank the company for its response with these details in gender and diversity.

As of year’s end 2022, the gender figures in the employment base 2022 are:

  • Female: 69 percent
  • Male: 30 percent
  • Non-binary, as self-reported, less than 1 percent

“We have more female representation at every level of our company,” the publisher says. These include increases from 2021 to 2022 in these categories of positions:

  • Vice-president
  • Director
  • Manager/mid-level
  • Non-exempt catetgories

Hachette Book Group’s 19-member executive management board comprises 13 women.

More from us on issues of diversity and inclusivity in international publishing are here, more on Hachette Book Group 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.com, 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.