The report, published by the CIPR's Diversity Working Group, is based on the experiences and perceptions of more than 30 PR professionals, from various disciplines and backgrounds, across a range of ‘diversity issues’ including ethnicity, sexuality, disability, gender equality and age equality.
The key findings reveal evidence of active discrimination of ethnic minorities in recruitment and an "obsession with youth" and pursuit of digital natives that has resulted in older professionals being made to feel "out of touch".
The report also said that a complacent approach to sexuality has led to non-heterosexual professionals feeling uncomfortable about being themselves in certain sectors. On gender equality there is a feeling of injustice among women starting families that has been heightened by inflexible working cultures and an imbalance of men in leadership positions.
The report also contains four separate pieces of advice for PR professionals to deliver improved diversity and inclusion in their own organisations.
Catherine Grinyer, chair of the working group and founder of Big Voice Communications, said: "PR is a vital business function. If we get diversity and inclusion right within our industry it will put us ahead of our client but, at the moment, we are lagging behind. We should be drawing on a range of diverse talent and communicating with diverse audiences, but we are not. If we don’t understand how to embed inclusion and become skilled at delivering more inclusive campaigns, then we are failing at our job."