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More than a quarter (28%) of the public relations workforce are privately educated – four times the national average – according to figures revealed in the CIPR’s 2018/19 State of the Profession report (PDF).

The study – delivered in partnership with Chalkstream – shows privately educated PR Professionals secure more senior roles and earn an average of £13,000 more per year than state-educated colleagues.

The findings are compounded by diversity figures which reveal BAME representation has hit a five-year low, with 92% of PR professionals describing themselves as white. Practitioners claim to believe PR is more effective when practiced by diverse teams, but the data raises serious questions over whether the industry is truly committed to addressing its diversity crisis.

Department for Education figures for England reveal ethnic minorities comprise 31% of the primary school population, yet only 8% of PR professionals are from BAME backgrounds. The decline of ethnic minorities in PR is at odds with UK population trends and poses a long-term threat to the relevance and staying-power of an industry which should reflect the society is seeks to engage.

“This report identifies clear challenges and opportunities for the PR industry. Diversity is an issue we must tackle head on. Talent doesn’t have a postcode and it isn’t determined by skin colour. Our industry has to work harder to be inclusive. Similarly, mental health is a growing area of concern and we must be proactive in changing working practices and shifting the ‘always on’ culture that contributes to the problem.

There are positives, however. The report shows steady commercial growth with some progress on gender pay. There’s a positive groundswell around professionalism which is good news as we build a community of Chartered Practitioners.”

Emma Leech Found.Chart.PR FCIPR, CIPR President

Read about the report here:

Find out more about BAME 20/20 here: