Recruitment to focus on attracting ‘best people’ for future of the firm

Publisher Penguin Random House (PRH) has removed the ‘degree filter’ from its hiring process, joining the growing ranks of employers supporting greater social mobility into the professions.

The employer said the move, which applies to all new jobs advertised by the firm, is intended to attract talent from a wider talent pool.

Group HR director Neil Morrison said there was increasing evidence that possessing a degree does not always correlate with ongoing performance at work. He said that the experience in his organisation showed that the brightest talents had come from a variety of different backgrounds, not just from the top universities.

The employer said it would focus on giving every applicant the opportunity to demonstrate their potential, creativity, strengths and ideas, rather than requiring a degree.

Graduates are still welcome to apply, the employer said, adding that the change in recruitment requirements is also designed to send a clear message to jobseekers that if they did go through higher education, the university they attended will not impact their chances of success.

In addition to dropping its degree requirement, PRH does not ask job candidates for specific A-levels or UCAS points, meaning that academic qualifications will no longer act as a barrier to joining the publishing profession. 

“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,” Morrison said.

“This is the starting point for our concerted action to make publishing far, far more inclusive than it has been to date. 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.”

This announcement follows the launch of an entry-level programme The Scheme last year which saw the publisher move away from traditional recruitment and CVs. It asked candidates for an email address and responses to seven strength-based questions via Tumblr. The idea was to encourage people who might never have thought to apply for a role in publishing to reconsider. To find out more about the initiative read People Management's case study. 

Other employers who have rejected the blunt instrument of academic grades include EY, which announced it was removing academic qualifications from its entry criteria in 2015, and Deloitte, which took the decision to hide candidates' school and university information by using a 'contextualised' hiring technique.