Sixty-one percent of new hires in 2022 at Hachette Book Group identified as BIPOC, the company said in its latest report on how its diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts are progressing. The new employees increased the percentage of BIPOC staff members in the HBG workforce to 36.4%. HBG noted that over the last decade, diversity has increased every year, rising from 20.7% in 2012.
Despite an overall increase in the number of BIPOC employees at HBG, progress senior positions stalled last year. At the v-p and above level, 17.9% of those executives identified as BIPOC, the same percentage as in 2021, while at that the director level it decreased, to 21.6%. “We are expanding our HR team devoted to recruitment in diverse communities to help us increase growth in this important area,” HBG said in its report.
Progress also stalled in the percentage of books acquired from BIPOC authors and illustrators last year. While the percentage of books acquired from BIPOC creators new to HBG increased by 50% between 2019 and 2022 - to 33% of those acquisitions - there was a 3% decline from 2021 to 2022. HBG saw a similar trend in books acquired from all creators in the 2019-2022 period. The combination of new and returning BIPOC authors and illustrators accounted for 24% of all book acquisitions in 2022, and while that was an increase of 20% over 2019, it was a 14% decline from 2021.
According to the report, HBG continues to expand its hiring outreach to more sources for candidates of color, identifying, for example, more than 70 DEI-focused job boards to promote open positions. In addition, the company’s HR team held 36 recruiting events in 2022, with 1,300 candidates and 45 HBG staff participating. One result of HBG’s various efforts was that last summer’s intern class was 85% BIPOC.
Part of HBG’s DEI efforts include forming new partnerships, a program which led to agreements with Lambda Literary, Hurston/Wright Foundation, City College of New York, and We Need Diverse Books.
In prepared remarks, HBG CEO Michael Pietsch said that, “promoting diversity and inclusion is not just the right thing to do, it’s vital to our success and growth. 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.”
Carrie Bloxson, who joined HBG as v-p and chief diversity officer in February 2021, said while the company has made gains in building a more diverse publishing programs, it is aware that many challenges remain. “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 DEI is unwavering and ever present,” Bloxson said in a statement.
This is HBG’s fourth annual report on its DEI efforts and HBG is one of the few major publishers to release yearly DEI updates.