Penguin Random House UK is removing any requirement for a university degree for all new jobs to attract a “more varied candidate pool” in order to “publish the best books that appeal to readers everywhere”.
Group human resource director Neil Morrison said he made the decision following increasing evidence that there was no simple correlation between having a degree and ongoing performance in work. PRH’s “brightest talents” come from a variety of different backgrounds, not just from the top universities, Morrison added.
The publisher has now removed the degree filter from all job advertisements, job descriptions and recruitment processes in the UK with immediate effect, and is instead focusing on giving every applicant the opportunity to demonstrate their potential, creativity, strengths and ideas, regardless of their background.
Morrison said: “We want to attract the best people to help grow and shape the future of our company, regardless of their background - and that means that we need to think and act differently. Simply, if you’re talented and you have potential, we want to hear from you.
“This is the starting point for our concerted action to make publishing far, far more inclusive than it has been to date.”
He added: “Now, we need to be more visible to talented people across the UK. We believe this is critical to our future: to publish the best books that appeal to readers everywhere, we need to have people from different backgrounds with different perspectives and a workforce that truly reflects today’s society.”
Graduates are still welcome to apply for jobs, but not having been through higher education will "no longer preclude anyone from joining and progressing their career with PRH UK," the company said.
The move is also designed to send a clear message to job-seekers who have been through higher education that the university they attended will not impact their chance of success.
PRH UK has no requirements for A-levels or UCAS points either, so academic qualifications will no longer act as a barrier to talented people getting a foot in the door to publishing.
The announcement follows the launch of entry-level programme The Scheme last year in which Penguin Random House UK moved away from traditional recruitment and CVs – asking for only an email address and responses to seven strength-based questions via Tumblr – to encourage people who might never have thought to apply for a role in publishing to think again.
The company said those without a degree performed as well as those with a degree and half of the successful candidates who went onto join the company had not been through higher education.
This year, the publisher will significantly expand The Scheme, it said, to reach and recruit people who aren’t actively looking for a career in publishing into editorial positions and roll out a new, consistent approach to work experience to make it easier for candidates from a range of backgrounds and from outside of London to access placements in its offices. The company also plans to train its managers on how to avoid ‘unconscious bias’, and launch a new careers website with easy-to-access resources to "demystify the publishing process and highlight the skills and strengths needed to succeed in the industry."