The report is not saying the industry is racist, nor that positive discrimination is needed. It is about creating equal opportunities for all groups regardless of their background. There are many other practitioners from diverse backgrounds who can effectively make a contribution in the PR industry given the chance.
Diversity should not just be a tactic that organisations implement as part of their PR strategy or CSR. Many are satisfied they are being diverse in areas such as equality and disability, when in essence there is still an underlying discrimination whereby people of colour have their chances of success dampened by mainstream PR agencies.
I started my own PR firm when I realised I could win business for my employer solely on my ability, character and experience. While I have made a significant contribution to the industry, there are others struggling to get their foot on the ladder.
The sad thing is people from a diverse background only make up seven per cent of those employed within this industry. While I welcome Dr Edwards' research, it is clear the PR industry is lagging way behind.
It is not about employing people because of their diversity, but ensuring that all backgrounds have the same access to education, employment and promotion.
- Diahanne Rhiney, CEO, Fifteen Degrees.