Change comms to change the world

The murder of Stephen Lawrence 20 years ago brought into focus the discrimination young black men faced on a daily basis.

Symon Sentain: 'If we can help PR leaders increase the diversity of their workforce, the impact  will resonate across the corporate world.'
Symon Sentain: 'If we can help PR leaders increase the diversity of their workforce, the impact will resonate across the corporate world.'

Set up in his memory, the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust has been fighting to improve chances for young people from ethnic minority backgrounds ever since.

While there have been improvements since Stephen’s death, genuine diversity in the workplace still lags behind.

Particularly in competitive-to-access professions such as PR, the City, law and accountancy, minority groups are still significantly under-represented.

This year the trust is launching an outreach campaign to employers, to show leaders in every profession that greatness can come from anywhere and support them to develop it within their organisations.

We have to make sure people from black and minority ethnic backgrounds are fairly represented, not just at junior levels but in the boardroom.

Earlier this year, we announced a partnership with Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer to broaden access to careers in law.

Together, we created a scholarship scheme designed to combat under-representation in magic circle firms of black men from low income backgrounds.

Like law, PR and comms cut across every sector and the people in those roles often have influential and wide-ranging roles within organisations.

If we can help PR leaders increase the diversity of their workforce, the impact will resonate across the corporate world.

Research shows ethnic minorities in professional occupations can often struggle to move up the career ladder even when they have qualifications, skills and experience.

Only 4.1 per cent of the directors of FTSE 100 companies in 2010 came from minority backgrounds. 

We believe we can change the face of corporate Britain by providing people with the opportunity to be the best they can be. 

While this may be a challenge, we believe it can be overcome and look forward to working with a range of industries to develop a Britain where everyone can achieve their full potential.

Symon Sentain is chair of the Stephen Lawrence Trust. Hanover Communications is working with the trust this year on a pro bono basis.

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