White employees made up 64.6% of Hachette Book Group’s workforce in 2021, down from 67.1% in 2020, the publisher said in its annual update on how its diversity, equity, and inclusions efforts are proceeding. The greater diversity in the HBG ranks was driven by the hiring of more BIPOC employees, with BIPOC candidates representing 54.2% of all new hires, up from 47.8% in 2020.

The percentage of new book acquisitions also became more diverse last year, the publisher said, with BIPOC authors illustrators representing 34% of new deals compared to 29% in 2020.

Hispanic/Latinx employees comprised 20.5% of all HBG staff in 2021, up slightly from 20% in 2020, and Asian American employees also saw a slight increase, accounting for 6.9% of employees up from 6.7% in 2020. Black employees were 5% of the workforce last year, up from 3.9% in 2020.

At the senior management level, progress was slower: 78.4% were white in 2021 compared to 79.5% in 2020.

Carrie Bloxson, who joined HBG in February 2021 to head its DEI efforts and is now the publisher's chief diversity officer, said in a statement: "We are committed to making sure that employees from all backgrounds feel like valued members of HBG."

New Partnerships

The update on its employee ranks was accompanied by an announcement of four new partnerships HBG has signed to support writers and publishing professionals from underrepresented backgrounds.

In an agreement with City College of New York, HBG has created the CCNY+HBG Associates Program, which will provide a salaried, full-time, full-year work experience at HBG for a recent graduate of the City College of New York Publishing Certificate Program.

HBG is also working with the Hurston/Wright Foundation to offer support and resources to aspiring Black authors. To that end, HBG will copresent the Hurston/Wright Writers Week Retreat at Rutgers University, a seven-day summer writing workshop which will include writing instruction, workshopping, networking, and craft talks hosted by industry leaders.

HBG is working with Lambda Literary to continue its support of LGBTQIA+ literature by fully funding one fellow and offering several scholarships to Lambda’s annual writers retreat, which draws LGBTQIA+ writers from across the country. This year’s writers retreat will take place from July 31 to August 5.

To help BIPOC employees stay in publishing, HBG has teamed with We Need Diverse Books as a backer of Rise Up, a Retention Program for Diverse Mid-Level Publishing Professionals, which was designed to support mid-level adult and children's publishing industry professionals. The Rise Up program will include workshops, panels, resources, skill development, and support for diverse publishing professionals to assist in their career development and growth.

“We have worked with these excellent organizations in different ways for many years, but we see these expanded relationships and specialized programs as our opportunity to make a greater positive impact on the reading community,” Bloxson said. “Together we’ll strive to open up publishing to a far broader array of talents, perspectives, backgrounds, and experiences. Our partners’ goals align with HBG’s goals: to make publishing more inclusive, more diverse, and more accessible for all.”