Opinion: Diversity needs a tangible approach

The European Commission has launched a project entitled 'Business for Diversity' that will profile exemplary employers from the EU as part of a compendium of best practice. Sadly, I suspect that PR firms will be somewhat thin on the ground.

Which is why in June I will be joining the Chartered Institute of Public Relations and jetting off to Trieste for the Second World Festival of PR. It's a hard life - but I assure you there's a very good reason for the trip.

The festival is organised around the most pressing issue for the international PR industry - and PRWeek has taken the role of chief media sponsor. The theme, of course, is diversity - an issue that, within PR, has suffered from a lot of well-meaning tokenism, but which in an increasingly global and complex geo-political environment has become a core business concern. I would like to think that the audience in Trieste will resemble the United Nations, but again I suspect it will be predominantly middle class, white, Christian, young and relatively affluent.

That this might be the case should in no way be read as a failing of the organisers, who have put together a remarkable gathering. The uncomfortable fact is that the audiences at such events are representative of the broader socio-demographic make-up of the PR industry, particularly in Europe.

The organisers' manifesto rightly identifies the need for 'as much diversity among communicators as exists in any environment' and to communicate the value of diversity.

And the issue has started to be addressed. Within the UK, the CIPR's diversity workforce has taken some first steps. And the event will provide opportunities for practitioners and associations to compare differing approaches with their own national set of circumstances.

The American experience will no doubt prove valuable, the US being a little further ahead than most of Europe in terms of diversity within the workforce and delivering a complex set of marketing messages to different cultural audiences - although questions need to be asked as to whether the move towards ethnic and sexual-orientation-specific consultancies is the way forward.

This gathering is a good opportunity to put this issue on the agenda.

But it becomes a great opportunity if its participants can move beyond a high-minded exchange of idealism and delegates can take away with them a tangible set of proposals for immediate implementation to actively increase diversity within their organisations.

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Latest Articles

John Lewis to tell brand story with "tasteful" 150th anniversary celebrations

John Lewis to tell brand story with "tasteful" 150th anniversary celebrations

Department store John Lewis is to use its 150th anniversary this year to talk about its history, which "not enough people know about", according to director of communications Peter Cross.

Labour hires Obama election strategist David Axelrod to fight General Election

Labour hires Obama election strategist David Axelrod to fight General Election

The man who helped Barack Obama win the 2008 and 2012 US presidential elections is to work for Labour along with members of his team.

Sky adds Fever PR to its roster after splitting with Cake

Sky adds Fever PR to its roster after splitting with Cake

Pay-TV giant Sky has added Fever PR to its agency line-up for a wide-ranging brief covering products and services.

Max Clifford trial jury to continue deliberations after Easter break

Max Clifford trial jury to continue deliberations after Easter break

The jury in the trial of celebrity publicist Max Clifford has been sent home for Easter and will reconvene on Tuesday for further deliberations about its verdicts on 11 charges of indecent assault.

Home Office brings in Munro & Forster to campaign against FGM

Home Office brings in Munro & Forster to campaign against FGM

The Home Office has tasked Munro & Forster (M&F) with supporting its campaign to eradicate female genital mutilation (FGM) as part of a wider retained brief.