Sheeraz Gulsher, co-founder of People Like Us, on whether PR is making any progress in its quest to be more diverse

Welcome to the PRmoment Podcast.

This week we’re chatting to Sheeraz Gulsher, EMEA communications, Snap and co-founder of People Like Us, about whether PR is making any progress in its quest to be more diverse and represent the audience that it aspires to communicate with.

We’ll also talk about the ethnicity pay gap in PR, the reasons behind it and how the sector can make more rapid progress in decreasing the ethnicity pay gap.

Before we start, do check out the home page of PRmoment for our latest webinars, including The intersection of Data, Insight and PR Planning and The State of Social Media Marketing Report.

And thanks to our PRmoment Podcast sponsors, The PRCA.

1 min Sheeraz tells us about People Like Us and its next event.

4 mins Sheeraz talks us through other communities and programmes for minority groups in PR, namely: BMEPR Pros, The Blueprint, The Taylor Bennett Foundation and The Black Comms Network.

5 mins Sheeraz talks us through how it feels to be part of a minority group and work in public relations.

“There were points when I felt so alone and inadequate.”

8 mins Sheeraz gives us an insight into what the barriers are for people working in PR from Black, Asian, mixed race and minority ethnic people working in comms.

9 mins “We want to show people how brilliant we are”

10 mins How can PR employers become better at employing people from Black, Asian, mixed race and minoritised ethnic backgrounds.

“The Taylor Bennett Foundation is a hugely important organisation… that supports young ethnic minority people getting into comms”

“Having that feeling that you’re part of something - that means the world”

12 mins Sheeraz talks about the work of the Brixton Finishing School as an organisation promoting young diverse talent.

13 mins What are the common themes for PR employers who are not attracting enough people from minority groups?

“No one cares about duvet days or Friday bar anymore - you need to keep it real and show your commitment. What is your representation at the leadership or board level, and what are your commitments to making a more inclusive working environment? … Also, people talk.”

15 mins A lot of PR employers say the reason they don't have more employees from Black, Asian, mixed race and minoritised ethnic backgrounds is they can't find the applicants working in PR. Does Sheezaz agree with that?

“The talent is 100% out there”

18 mins Does PR have a bigger diversity problem than law, design or marketing, for example?

22 mins “The latest PRCA Census says that 74% of the PR industry identify as ‘white British’, 13% as ‘other white’ and only 13% as ‘non-white’. So 87% total white UK-wide in PR.

UK Census stats: The most common ethnic group in England and Wales was White (84.8%)

This compares to London diversity stats for the UK-wide census. London is the UK’s most ethnically diverse city:

White British (43.4%), Other White (14.6%) and Black African (7.9%);

So 57% total White in London.”

In the context of those stats, how does Sheeraz see PR’s diversity problem?

24 mins Sheeraz talks us through the stats behind PR’s ethnicity pay gap.

28 mins Is 25% a sensible diversity target for PR employers?

29 mins In 2020 the CIPR published a lived experiences report which shared the experiences of racism that people from minority groups had experienced in PR. How widespread does Sheeraz think racism is in public relations?

34 mins As an in-house buyer of public relations, presumably Sheeraz and his in-house peers need to hire diverse agency teams?

35 mins How can people get involved with People Like Us?

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