Condé Nast, the publisher of Vogue, Vanity Fair and The New Yorker, has just published the full-year findings of its first diversity and inclusion report, revealing that much needs to be done to improve representation among its workforce.
In 2020, 68 percent of staffers based in the U.S. identified as white, 10 percent as Asian, 7.5 percent as Black, 5.5 percent as Latine, and 4 percent as multiracial. Less that 1 percent identified as Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander and it was the same figure for those identifying as Native American or Alaska Native. When it came to new hires, 52 percent identified as white, 13 percent as Black, 11 percent as Asian, 8 percent as Latine and 5 percent as multiracial.
Among senior leadership, diversity was at its lowest, with 77 percent identifying as white, 10 percent as Asian, 5.5 percent as Black and 3 percent as Latine.
As for the gender split, globally, 68 percent of the workforce identified as female and 32 percent as male. The publisher plans to offer a non-binary option in its 2021 questionnaire.
In an accompanying note, chief executive officer Roger Lynch said: “The report is meant to provide a summary of where we are today, as well as the start of a blueprint for how we will continue to improve. The events of the last year, within our company, the industry and around the world, have made it clear how much work we have to do.”
Among its commitments to improve diversity and inclusion included in the report, it has pledged to ensure that every year 50 percent of candidates on hiring slates are from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds. The organization has also tapped Yashica Olden as its first global chief diversity and inclusion officer, responsible for developing and implementing diversity and inclusion strategies across the company’s global portfolio of brands and divisions.
Condé was put under the spotlight for its record on diversity and inclusion amid national protests last year over the police killings of George Floyd and other unarmed Black people and, more broadly, centuries of systemic racism in the U.S.
In June, Bon Appétit editor in chief Adam Rapoport resigned after the emergence of a photograph of him in brown face, plus allegations of a discriminatory workplace environment for people of color. At Vogue, in a memo to staffers, editor in chief and global chief content officer for Condé Nast Anna Wintour admitted that “Vogue has not found enough ways to elevate and give space to Black editors, writers, photographers, designers and other creators.”
In a recent “Sway” podcast for The New York Times, host Kara Swisher asked Wintour to address allegations of diversity failings at Condé Nast and what happened when employees raised these issues at companywide meetings. Wintour responded that “what was happening at Condé Nast was happening also at many other businesses, whether they were media or other companies throughout the United States and indeed throughout the world…so I don’t think it would be correct to single out Condé Nast as being the sole place where this was happening.”
When Swisher pushed her to elaborate on what exactly employees said, Wintour continued that “there were many different discussions and I think a lot of it was rooted in the social unrest that was happening at that time….I think that this was definitely heightened by the leadership that we have in this country.”
Hearst, the publisher of Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, Esquire, Harper’s Bazaar and Elle, published its first report at the beginning of February. As well as its magazine division, the report covered the whole company encompassing newspapers, television and more.
It found that 73 percent of employees identified as white, 8 percent as Black, 8 percent as Asian and 8 percent as Latine. For new hires in 2020, 64 percent identified as white, 11 percent as Black, 11 percent as Asian and 10 percent as Latine. Just over half of employees identified as male.
Meredith Corp., the largest magazine publisher in the U.S. whose brands include People and InStyle, has not made public any data on the diversity of its workforce, but plans to do so shortly.
Penske Media Corp., the publisher of WWD, has also yet to release a diversity and inclusion report. In July, however, the company did note the breakdown of its board of directors.
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