PR coalition survey finds diversity practices need improvement

NEW YORK: The Public Relations Coalition, an alliance of 23 PR organizations, released its first diversity benchmark study last week.

NEW YORK: The Public Relations Coalition, an alliance of 23 PR organizations, released its first diversity benchmark study last week.

The coalition agreed to the study during the 2005 "Diversity Summit," as a way to increase efforts in improving diversity in the field. 

Most of the 73 respondents, corporate heads of communications or CEOs of PR firms, to the online survey agreed that the industry needs more women and minorities, particularly at the senior level. It also found that there are fewer minority groups in senior management than in non-managerial roles. While most also agreed there were many women in the business, most felt there was room for improvement at senior levels.

Among respondent suggestions were that the industry should do more in the way of mentoring, training, and internships, as well as work with universities and colleges to attract minorities into the profession. The study was conducted for the Coalition, pro bono, by BPRI, a WPP research agency.

"I don't think the individual findings are unique," said James Murphy, chief marketing and communications officer for Accenture and chairman of the 50,000 member coalition.  "What really impressed me was the level of commitement to do the research."

Murphy, who founded the coalition in 1999, said he got the idea for it when he was president of the Arthur Page Society.  "I saw a lot of programs and activities going on in the industry would benefit from cross fertilization and sharing."

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