PRCA diversity report urges root and branch reform of PR industry practices

The PRCA has launched its 'diversity and inclusion guidelines' report, which calls on the industry to reform working and recruitment practices.

Launch night (l to r): Elizabeth Bananuka, Geraint Lloyd-Taylor, Jane Johnson, Pema Seely
Launch night (l to r): Elizabeth Bananuka, Geraint Lloyd-Taylor, Jane Johnson, Pema Seely
Employers should take a number of steps to positively affect diversity and inclusion in their teams, the report said, including: 

Monitor and collect diversity metrics through employee surveys and equality impact assessments

Introduce fair and transparent recruitment practices through unconscious bias training, posting job adverts online and on different jobs boards, and outreach programmes

Offer structured and paid internships

Offer quality and paid apprenticeships.

Launching the report, Francis Ingham, PRCA director general, said: "The consensus in the industry is that diversity must improve and today we are providing the industry with clear steps to make that change."

The report, which features case studies from agencies including Dynamo, Cicero Group and Forster Communications, also offers recommendations on how organisations can manage a diverse workforce, such as investing in diversity training for all staff, mentoring junior staff from diverse backgrounds and reverse mentoring for senior employees by people from diverse backgrounds.

The launch follows news earlier this week that Dynamo has launched what it claimed was the industry’s first ‘blind recruitment’ campaign to hire new staff, which will now apply to all levels of the business.

This launch event for the report, held at M&C Saatchi PR’s offices in London last night, follows a pledge by the PR and Communications Council to improve diversity within the industry. 

This pledge was inspired by statistics in the PR Census 2016 that the industry is 91 per cent white and 83 per cent British. 
In addition, 64 per cent of the industry is made up of women but the gender pay gap in 2016 was £9,111 in favour of men. Other recent estimates place the average gender pay gap at £10,000 and, at senior levels, £75,000. Only two per cent of PR and communications practitioners consider themselves to have a disability and 85 per cent of people in the industry describe themselves as heterosexual. 
The PRCA said the statistics highlighted the need for a collaborative, industry-led approach.

Sarah Stimson (pictured), chief executive of industry diversity charity the Taylor Bennett Foundation, which is the PRCA’s charity of the year, said: "This report is indicative of [the PRCA’s] wider commitment to diversity across the industry in all forms. It covers the issues comprehensively and gives practical guidance on addressing diversity in the PR workforce. We welcome it wholeheartedly."
Sarah Hall, president of the CIPR, said the PRCA’s report took the industry "a step forward" on diversity issues and echoed work carried out in its own ‘State of the Profession’ report, to be launched next month.
Pema Seely, chairman of the PRCA Diversity Network, said: "Bright young people want to work in modern and inclusive environments. Simply put, people want to come to work knowing that they will learn and develop. For me, diversity is a key part of that, otherwise we will have the same people, with the same ideas, and ultimately the same results."  

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