Diversity at Penguin Random House UK (Part 2)

Last week, I wrote about Penguin Random House UK trying to become as varied in composition as the UK itself.  One of the ways they want to do that?  Make college degrees no longer a requirement for any position in their company.

People can be extremely talented and have no degree because:  Not everyone can afford $70,000 of debt, caretakers might not have the time to devote to schooling, disabled people aren't always accommodated in universities, reformed ex-cons might have not had access to education while serving time... it goes on.

Ways to prove talent and potential:
  1. Exams with interviews
  2. Portfolios of work (for cover artists)
  3. Testimonials from a freelance business
  4. Alternative education experience (like reputable online workshops)
  5. Editing/running a small press/literary magazine
  6. Internships/mentorships with advancement opportunity 
Penguin Random House (PRH) specifically says people who have degrees are still welcome to apply, so it isn't like being a college graduate disqualifies someone.  I wonder, by 2025, how many people they'll have on their payroll who possess no degree at all (and I'm not talking about the janitors).
The presence of disability has faded from the discussion around PRH's attempt at true inclusiveness.  This is normal.  While we may get a brief mention, we're almost always left out of any discussion about equality and diversity by the end of it.  

Why disabled/neurodivergent people are left out:
  1. We're perceived as incapable of fully participating in whatever is discussed.
  2. People will often know others from minority communities (or at least about them) but won't know much about disabled/neurodivergent people.
  3. Any accommodation we need is considered too much and renders us invalid.
  4. Our narratives are ignored unless people want inspiration or to pity someone.
The stereotypes of helplessness, low intelligence, and being too expensive to care for make including us seem not worth it.  Better to shove us away than make society accessible.  If they bury our needs, our needs don't exist.

Kenny Fries wrote a great piece on the disappearance of disability in these discussions.
I'll leave you with it.  


  1. Thanks for the link to Kenny Fries's piece. I hadn't seen that yet.

    Diversity discussions do tend to get pretty narrow in their definitions of diversity, which is ironic, given the topic.

    @mirymom1 from
    Balancing Act

  2. Thanks for asking :-) My current book is kicking my butt. I've been stalled for a couple of months, and playing hooky by writing short stories instead. But I have a writing retreat coming up and am hoping to bring some hard focus and wrap this one up.