COVID-19 'affecting BAME marcomms pros more than white counterparts'

The coronavirus is hitting BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic) marcomms and media professionals more than their white counterparts in terms of pay and career prospects, new research suggests.

(Credit: takasuu via Getty Images)
(Credit: takasuu via Getty Images)

BAME professionals working in marcomms are taking a greater pay cut (18 per cent) than their white peers (15 per cent).

The survey is for People Like Us, the networking group for minority ethnic professionals working in media and marcomms. Censuswide polled 219 respondents employed in or who used to work in PR, marketing, advertising or journalism between 18 May and 4 June.

The survey found 42 per cent of BAME respondents feel their career prospects have suffered due to COVID-19, compared to 20 per cent of white professionals. And 37 per cent per cent feel diversity is now less of a priority in their workplace (survey average: 26 per cent).

A higher percentage of all respondents working in-house think diversity and inclusion are a higher priority for their company since COVID-19 than those working at an agency (23 per cent vs 15 per cent).

In addition, 41 per cent of BAME marcomms professionals feel they do not have a good work-life balance in the current environment, compared to 32 per cent of their white counterparts.

BAME marcomms professionals did, however, feel more supported by each other and better equipped to face the crisis. But more than a third (35 per cent) still feel that they don’t have someone to consult or know how to handle the pandemic and its fallout.

Sheeraz Gulsher, co-founder of People Like Us, said: “The current pandemic is affecting everyone and the media industry is no exception - but it’s heart breaking to see that at a time when everyone should be pulling together, people of colour seem to be once again pushed down the priority list.

"With the rise of the culture-defining Black Live Matter movement, we want to make sure that these important conversations around diversity and inclusion don't just focus on the justice system, but on society as a whole. It is our job as an industry to use this momentum to turn the tide for BMEs, to keep diversity in mind and celebrate the voices we already have in the industry."


The survey also suggests people in marketing have been more affected by furlough and redundancy than those who work in PR.

Eleven per cent of PR respondents have been furloughed, compared to 35 per cent of those who work in marketing. More than three times as many in marketing have been made redundant than those in PR (15 per cent versus four per cent).

However, a higher proportion of PRs have taken a pay cut - 35 per cent, versus 26 per cent among marketing professionals.

Elsewhere, the findings suggest more respondents in-house have been put on furlough than those employed agency-side (26 per cent versus 18 per cent). Similarly, more respondents in-house have been made redundant than those in an agency (11 per cent versus eight per cent).

However, more respondents in an agency have taken a pay cut than those in-house (34 per cent versus 31 per cent).

Over two thirds (68 per cent) of those working in an agency feel their employer has been transparent in how the business has been affected in the current climate - 48 per cent of those working in-house feel the same.

People Like Us is holding a virtual event on 25 June for BAME marcomms professionals.

PRWeek UK is committed to having a more diverse selection of commentators in our articles, and is compiling a list of BME (black, Asian and minority ethnic) PR professionals who are willing to be quoted. To be added to the list, please email and include your specialist areas of expertise, and/or preferred subjects for commentary.

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