The case for diversity in the PR industry is one which continues to grow in relevance due to the ever-changing technological, demographic, social and economic landscape of the world. As audiences diversify and become more influential on market trends, it becomes more crucial that businesses develop in a manner which gives them a competitive edge. By diversifying the talent in PR the industry will be able to develop a more global, multi-cultural understanding of their audiences and be better equipped to address their needs and understand their concerns.
In the latest Chartered Institute Of Public Relations (CIPR) Diversity Working Group report on diversity From Diversity to Inclusion: The Progression of Equality in Public Relations and Challenges for the Future , highlights how attitudes on diversification in public relations have become an important part of the agenda. However, more palpable change is required in order to truly change the face of PR. In the six years since the CIPRDWG’s formation in 2009, the number of PR practitioners from a non-white background has only increased from 7% to 9%.
While race and gender have been heavily discussed in the past, conversations about diversity have failed to recognise factors of age, disability, sexual identity and socio-economic distinctions which have also contributed to the lack of inclusion in PR. A truly agile workforce that is able to successfully respond to changing trends must combine new insight, valuable gained experience and cultural understanding. If decision-makers continue to employ the same types of people from an obsolete template further delays will be placed on the receptiveness of the industry as a whole, and keep intact the same glass ceilings that have burdened the forward movement of public relations as a profession. The continued exchange of views on diversity in PR is highly commendable but now is the time for action in ensuring that the industry is representative of all backgrounds.
Accessibility can be achieved by creating entry points into the industry through job creation and supporting workers from the beginning of their career development journey. Initiatives such as Creative Access are creating change within the industry by placing individuals from Black, Asian and other non-white minority backgrounds (BAME) into internships with leading media companies.
It is also important that diversity is promoted in positions of leadership, which still tend to be occupied by white, middle-class males. According to the CIPR Diversity Working Group, the pay gap between women and men amounts to £8,483 with men having the advantage. The reasoning behind this discrepancy is unclear. Diversity within the workforce requires both a route to advancement into senior positions as well as initial entry points into the industry through internships and junior-level jobs, to bring about the change required to compete in an increasingly globalised market.
Farzana Baduel can be found on Twitter imparting insight into the world of Public Relations and advocating for a more inclusive industry. Twitter: @FarzanaBaduel as well as blogging for the PR Bible at: http://theprbible.com/
The official Twitter page for Curzon PR: @CurzonPR
Official company website: www.curzonpr.com
PHOTO courtesy of David Nyanzi, The Fold