Diversity at Penguin Random House UK (Part 1)

Earlier this month, Penguin Random House (UK) unveiled their plan to make those they publish (and hire) more closely resemble the diversity seen in their population by the year 2025.  They have removed the degree requirement from their jobs.  They've expanded mentoring programs and have made sure all internships are paid.

Of course, once you talk about diversity and inclusion, you have people criticising the move.  "Quality will suffer!" the naysayers screech.  "They'll just tick off difference boxes without any thought of talent."
Using minority percentages in populations:

I'm for using them as a guideline, I've suggested it in many instances, but I'm uncertain how I feel about quotas or identical reflections.  Are they going to fire/hire if the population shifts in the future?  Is there a margin they can be "off" by?

How are those with multiple marginalizations handled?  Does an Asian, bisexual man count as both minority groups in those census-type reports?  How will PHR count folks who overlap different marginalizations?

I'd love to see Penguin Random House's (PRH) methods for tracking their progress.

Just as a reference:  The VIDA Count also uses percentages. 
"Diversity" doesn't mean quality suffers:

Much like affirmative action, opponents think PHR will grab the first cripple they see off the street and offer them a job.  (If so, look me up, guys!)  These people think the group those hired belong to will matter more than the skill.  They don't believe for one second that the chosen "minority" person will have the qualifications other applicants do.

The assumed lack of talent is pretty bigoted, if you think about it.  Minorities are often seen as possessing less intellect, less drive, less every good attribute than the majority so of course they won't be the "right" people.

Why would an entity focused on making money purposely hire people without the barest hint of potential?  The supposed boost they'd get from "virtue signalling" wouldn't last nearly long enough to cover the losses of maintaining inept employees, or worse, publishing awful writers.  PHR will search harder and smarter, not with increasing desperation.

There is a subtle, persistent fear by some people in the majority.  If some more of the pie is given to minority groups, there will be less pie for them.  It's a difficult thing, having to concede something to others when you've had it unchallenged (and often unearned) for so long.

Next week, I'll address the change in PHR's policy on college degrees and disability's mysterious disappearance from the diversity discussion as it goes on.


  1. Interesting. Diversity is probably good for a publishing house, as difference is part of what makes reading interesting. But it does seems strange to be so very regimented about it. @mirymom1 from
    Balancing Act

    1. I thought so, too. I mean, I love that they want a bigger variety of people but, without seeing their exact methods and whatnot... it sounds pretty extreme. I still want to see what counts for who where and all that. Maybe it would look more organic with a peek behind the curtain.