Tom Weldon, CEO, Penguin Random House UK, believes the measures will encourage greater diversity within the industry.
He said: “At Penguin Random House we want to be open to the very best talent, regardless of background. We also believe it is vitally important that the publishing industry reflects the society we live in today.
“But we recognise that only covering expenses for work experience has been a barrier for many young people in the past.
“Through meaningful and paid work experience, we hope to open the door to the next generation of passionate and creative young people, helping them to establish their careers, and develop a skilled pipeline of future talent.”
Today’s announcement is part of a broader programme of measures from Penguin Random House that are designed to make publishing more inclusive. Last year it removed any reference to academic qualifications, including degrees, from all recruitment. It also banned all personal referrals and introduced a random selection policy for its work experience programme to open up opportunities to the widest possible talent pool.
As a result of these changes and for the first time, Penguin Random House’s work experience applicant pool now reflects the ethnic diversity both of London and the UK, indicating that it is reaching and appealing to more young people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities, while two thirds of its applicants have grown up outside of London or the South East.
Now, by paying work experience placements a salary, Penguin Random House UK hopes to enable more candidates from different areas and backgrounds to benefit from meaningful experience in a creative workplace.
Peter Cheese, CEO, Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, commented: "It's great to see Penguin Random House promoting work experience in such a positive way, giving young people from a wide variety of backgrounds that critical opportunity to experience the workplace. In particular, they are to be commended for taking a lead on paying young people whilst they gain experience - an example we hope many others will follow."
Sophie Jackson from Lancashire, who recently completed work experience in a Penguin Random House editorial team, said: “My work experience with Penguin Random House gave me a fantastic insight into the publishing industry and the different roles that are available. I also gained practical and transferrable skills for my CV, and some great contacts who were genuinely happy to help me out with questions I had. The passion and advice from the team and other departments has inspired me to pursue a career in publishing or publicity.”