Media industry most difficult profession for ethnic minorities to break into

The media industry (PR and journalism) is viewed as the most difficult profession for ethnic minority candidates to find a job, according to a survey by diversity charity Race for Opportunity.

Race for Opportunity’s national director: Sandra Kerr
Race for Opportunity’s national director: Sandra Kerr

The charity surveyed 1,500 people of all ethnic backgrounds between 18 – 55 years old about their perceptions of high paid professions, including the media industry.

The report, called Aspiration and Frustration, found that 31% named it as the most difficult profession to break into, and 30% were put off persuing a career in the industry.

Twenty-two per cent of the respondents said the media industry lack entry-level information, 17% viewed the media industry as having a reputation for racism and only 11% of ethnic minority respondents felt that the media industry encouraged ethnic minorities to enter. Up to 34% of those asked saw the media as ‘cut throat’.

Within the 18-24 year old age group 21% said the media industry lacked role models.

Race for Opportunity’s national director Sandra Kerr said entry to the media (PR and journalism) has traditionally been seen as dependent on personal networks and unpaid work experience, hence its reputation as being one of the most difficult to break into. But she said it is possible to achieve diversity within the industry by taking a few key steps.

She said: ‘Media organisations need to focus on recruitment, retention and career progression for ethnic minorities at all levels. By taking initiatives such as ensuring all recruitment materials do not include any "invisible" barriers to entry for ethnic minority applicants and implementing coaching and mentoring schemes, media organisations can take the right steps to ensure diversity is a key focus for them.'

'Individuals in the media can help by diversifying the network of PRs or journalists in their contact lists and build up a diverse network that they can call upon when needed,’ she added.

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