Over the years we've covered the issue of diversity and inclusion in public relations a fair bit but I'm afraid to say, it’s an area where progress seems to be sadly lacking.
So I thought it would useful to share, in one place, some features and helpful resources where you can find a range of perspectives and information on the issue of diversity and inclusion in public relations, and the potential solutions to it.
Having interviewed a lot of people over the years on this topic, for me, the quickest, most powerful and easiest way to rapidly shift progress on this issue is for the buyers of public relations in the UK to take the approach of Torod Neptune , worldwide group VP and chief communications officer at Lenovo Group (pictured). Very simply, he won’t hire agency services from teams who do not represent the ethnic diversity of the community they are trying to communicate to.
Unsurprisingly, the diversity of the pitch teams for the Lenovo account changed pretty quickly once he announced this policy! More details about how he did that in the interview with Torod below.
First of all, here are some useful resources:
The Taylor Bennett Foundation is a charity that exists to encourage black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) graduates to pursue a career in communications.
BME PR Pros aims to promote BME diversity in PR and communications. The initiative was founded by – and is led by – Elizabeth Bananuka.
The Blueprint is a standard which PR teams sign up to. To achieve the standard, agencies must sign up to 23 commitments which promote ethnic diversity within the organisation. You must secure more than 70 points to have Blueprint Ally status and 101 to secure Blueprint status.
Here are a few of the interviews we’ve covered that discuss the issue of diversity and inclusion in public relations. Hopefully, this is will prove to be useful listening and reading for you as we all try and improve our understanding of this important issue.
Written by Caroline Bernard, Magda Bulska, Bieneosa Ebite, Lee Edwards, Sarah Middleton, and Paul Nezandonyi of Ignite, the organisation that promotes the benefits of cultural diversity in PR.
BAME practitioners reflect on how racism in the sector makes them feel about public relations
Avril Lee talks through the ‘Race in the Workplace: BAME lived experiences in the UK PR industry’ report
From 26 minutes into the podcast, Daljit discusses why diversity in the PR industry is such a big problem for the sector and at [00:33:58] Daljit talks about some solutions to PRs diversity issues, including the need for mentors to reach out to BAME communities to increase the awareness of PR as a career.
From [00:18:29] Asad talks about why he believes we're living in a period of tick-box diversity and discusses how some organisations are getting their approach to diversity right.
At [00:19:34] Torod talks about how Lenovo has changed the way it buys agency PR advice to force agencies to increase the diversity of their businesses.
At [00:33:30] Adrian outlines two social trends that mean that often young BAME people don't see PR as a credible career.
Finally, depressingly, (and we should use this as a warning to guard against talk and no action this time around), Bieneosa Ebite wrote about the need for PR to increase its diversity on PRmoment in 2011 - this article could have been written today, all the issues its highlights are still relevant:
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