Edelman CEO Robert Phillips backs drive to improve diversity in PR industry

Edelman has thrown its weight behind a call for more diversity in the PR industry.

Backing diversity: Edelman UK CEO Robert Phillips
Backing diversity: Edelman UK CEO Robert Phillips
UK CEO Robert Phillips has pledged to increase the number of employees at the agency from diverse backgrounds and those with disabilities.

Phillips was speaking yesterday at an event held at Edelman’s London headquarters, where new research was officially launched which showed the lack of diversity in the UK PR sector.

PRWeek previewed the research last month, which found that the PR industry was failing to make the most of the talents of black and minority ethnic practitioners.

The research, co-funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and Leeds Metropolitan University, found that the industry could be doing more to value diversity of background.

At the well-attended event yesterday, Phillips said Edelman would be following five steps to improve diversity at the firm. They would be:

  1. Edelman would stand by report author Dr Lee Edwards in running with the issue and trying to get it more widely discussed.
  2. A commitment from Edelman to start the conversation internally. Edelman will be re-auditing its staff and understanding the barriers to entry for professionals from minority ethnic backgrounds.
  3. Edelman will then revisit its supply chain and ask recruitment companies why there are not more professionals from BME backgrounds in an effort to make it best practice.
  4. Edelman will continue with multicultural campaigns for clients.
  5. The agency will refuse to give up and will revisit a street kids campaign, where it employed disadvantaged youths, which was abandoned several years ago.

Phillips said: ‘As an industry we need to do better. Lee’s research poses important challenges for the industry. We need to stand up and be counted.’

Last month,Bieneosa Ebite, MD of Bright Star PR and chair of Ignite, which promotes cultural diversity in PR, said measuring the number of PR professionals from black and ethnic minority groups was the first step towards improving diversity in the profession.

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