Penguin Random House once again saw its workforce diversity increase modestly over the past year, by 1.2%, according to its annual workforce demographics update. PRH is one of the few major publishers to release regular updates on the progress it is making in diversifying its workforce.

The publisher reported that 70% of its workforce was white in 2023, down from 71.2% in 2022, compared to an overall industry workforce that was 76.4% white in 2019, according to the Diversity Baseline Survey conducted by Lee & Low Books every four years and cited by PRH in its report. (In 2022, PW’s annual salary and jobs survey found that 83% of the publishing industry workforce; PW's model is limited strictly to book publishers, whereas Lee & Low's model includes other book businesses, including literary agencies.)

Asians had the largest representation among BIPOC groups, comprising 10.6% of PRH employees, up from 10% a year ago, while the percentage of Hispanics working at PRH rose to 9.5%, from 9%. Black employees comprised 6% of the PRH workforce, down from 6.2%.

Drilling down into some specific job functions, Asian representation in editorial rose to 14.8%, from 12.5%, while the percentage of Hispanics in editorial rose to 8.8%, from 8.6%. Black employees constituted 8.1% of editors, up from 7.3%.

The slight improvement in overall diversity came despite a small increase in the number of new hires who were white in 2023. Of the 192 new hires made by PRH through October, 55.7% were white, compared to 54.5% in 2022. Before PRH engaged in more aggressive outreach to potential BIPOC employees beginning in 2020, white workers had comprised about 67% of new hires. Of the new hires this year, 16.7% were Hispanic and 14.5% were Asian.

The PRH report notes that “there have been various fluctuations within the multiple BIPOC new hire demographic categories over the past three years, including a notable steady decrease in the percentage of Black new hires.” As a result, the report continues, PRH is “redoubling our efforts and placing additional focus where necessary—through tailored recruitment and outreach—in pursuit of our goal of having our new hire demographics match U.S. Census working age demographics by 2024.”

The Workforce Demographic update was included in PRH’s first U.S. DEI Report. The package also featured a short message by CEO Nihar Malaviya, who noted that ,as an immigrant, “our diversity, equity, and inclusion work is deeply personal for me.” But these efforts, he continued, “aren’t just essential for our company culture—they are also integral to our business strategy. We will only continue to grow as a business if we reach new and more diverse audiences of readers. My goal above all as a leader is to continue our work to create an environment where all employees are empowered to grow, succeed, and speak up.”