First PRH ethnicity pay report shows gap of 16% for BAME employees

First PRH ethnicity pay report shows gap of 16% for BAME employees

Penguin Random House has published its first ever ethnicity pay report, which found that BAME staff are paid 16% less than their white colleagues, on average.

The report was put together from data collected from 57% of the workforce who voluntarily disclosed information. Although that means it does not represent the entire company and could make future comparisons difficult, HR director Val Garside (pictured) said the report represented a “good starting point”.

The figures showed the mean hourly pay gap stood at 16%, while the median gap was much smaller at 3.7%. When it comes to bonuses, the mean gap was 66.1%. The median figure is calculated by ranking all employees from highest to lowest-paid, and taking the hourly wage of the person in the middle, while the mean is the average hourly wage across the entire organisation.

PRH said the main factor in the gap was a lack of diversity among those in senior managerial and leadership positions.

Writing in the report, Garside said: “Of course, our ultimate ambition is for both our ethnicity hourly and bonus pay gaps to be at zero. The journey to getting to that point will take time, and might not have a direct trajectory. That’s because while we can make the single biggest difference by increasing representation at a senior level, our wider inclusivity ambitions mean we will also continue to focus on improving representation across our organisation.

“In the short-term, for example, we could perpetuate or even increase the gap through entry-level recruitment efforts which create a more unequal balance of Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) colleagues in the lower versus upper levels of the company. In the longer term, we hope that a combination of inclusive senior recruitment and better support for internal progression will enable us to close the gap in a sustainable manner.”

Of those who gave their data, 13.3% were from BAME backgrounds, compared to 86.7% who were white. In the upper pay quartile, 9.8% were defined as BAME, with 15.7% in the upper middle, 13.7% in the lower middle and 14.1% in the lower quartile. According to the 2011 Census, 14% of the UK population are from a BAME background.

Breaking it down to job level, only 3% of senior management were from a BAME background, rising to 11% of those at management level, 14% of the rung below and 25% at entry level positions. There are no BAME people in the top leadership team.

When comparing different ethnicities, Black or Asian British people had a mean gap of 7.6% but the median gap was 15.5% in their favour. For Black or Black British workers, the mean gap was 30.5% and the median 23.6%. Workers of other ethnicities had a mean gap of 31.9% and a median one of 20.5%. Those who defined themselves as of mixed ethnicity had a mean 12.4% gap and a 3% median one.

The report forms part of an accelerated inclusivity action plan the company published in July, which vowed to make hires and acquisitions representative of society by 2023, introduce mandatory inclusivity training for all employees and review author advances and marketing spend.

Garside said: "This is the first time we are publishing an ethnicity pay report, and while it doesn't offer us a complete picture (since it draws on data voluntarily submitted by 57% of our employees), we believe it is a good starting point to acknowledge where we are right now and where we need to focus our attention in order to close our ethnicity pay gap.

“This gap is largely due to a lack of representation in our most senior positions, which we are working hard to redress through a number of strategies outlined in our accelerated Inclusion Action Plan and which we intend to update in the new year.

“We are committed to reporting our ethnicity pay gap on an annual basis, since this data will help us stay accountable to one of our key inclusion targets of representation in all teams, at all levels. And, equally important, it’s also a tool to facilitate more open and transparent conversations with our colleagues about the make-up of our workforce, and measure how this changes over time."

The report also revealed PRH is working with Brook Graham, a diversity and inclusion consulting company, on an action plan for achieving representation in senior leadership roles. PRH will also pilot a new senior editorial positive action traineeship in 2021, open to BAME people at commissioning editor level.

Brook Graham will also conduct an end-to-end review of recruitment processes and practices across every level of seniority, providing recommendations for where hiring practices can be made more inclusive.

The new report follows the recent publication of PRH's gender pay gap report, which showed the gulf between male and female pay had widened to a median of 5.3% and mean of 13.3%.

In 2019, Hachette became the first UK publisher to release an ethnicity pay gap report. This year's results showed the mean ethnicity pay gap at Hachette had risen from 9.8% to 14.1% across the group. The median gap also swung from 6.9% to 7.9% less in 2019.