Edelman reports slight increase in percentage of non-white employees since 2018

It’s the first time the world’s largest PR firm has released a full racial and ethnic breakdown of its U.S. staff.

Edelman CEO Richard Edelman
Edelman CEO Richard Edelman

CHICAGO: Edelman released U.S. staff diversity statistics on Tuesday, showing that 26.6% of its workforce is non-white. 

That percentage was up from 24% in 2018, when the firm pledged to reach 30% racial or ethnic diversity in the U.S. by 2022, the firm said in a statement. Edelman’s senior leadership, defined as SVP and above, is 14% racially or ethnically diverse, and 53% of its U.S. senior leadership is female. 

The numbers are a “snapshot” of Edelman’s employment statistics as of July 1, an agency spokesperson said. The firm compared its numbers to 2018 Equal Employment Opportunity Commission data from the professional, scientific and technical services category, which includes PR shops, ad agencies and other businesses. 

The breakdown revealed that 12% of executive leaders, defined as EVP and up, were non-white, compared to 17.5% nationally, as tracked by the EEOC. Of those, 3.8% of staffers were Black, compared to 2.4% nationally; 6% were Asian, while the EEOC tracked 10.1%; and 1.7% were Hispanic or Latinx, compared to 3.6% nationally.

Overall, 18.1% of Edelman’s SVPs and VPs were non-white. Of those, 4.6% were Black, compared to 4.8% nationally; 6% were Asian versus the EEOC’s 15.2%; and 4.8% were Hispanic or Latinx compared to 5.4% in the EEOC data. 

For the rest of Edelman’s U.S. non-leadership professional workforce, 9.1% of staffers were Black, compared to the EEOC’s 6.7% nationally; Asians made up 8.7%, while nationally the number was 18%; and Hispanic or Latinx employees comprised 10.8% of Edelman staff compared to 6.3% nationally. Overall, 32.8% of Edelman’s non-leadership professional staff is non-white. 

Edelman’s pay equity statistics show that U.S. Black, Hispanic and Latinx and Asian staffers make $1 for every $1 white employees make. In addition, women at Edelman earn $1 for every $1 earned by men in equivalent jobs.  

After listing the statistics, the agency made four diversity-related promises. First, it would increase its diversity-related investments to create an “accelerated and sustained strategy.” It also pledged to develop KPIs to track progress in diversity.

The firm also committed to increasing the diverse talent pipeline through recruitment and by broadening development resources and internal promotions. Edelman also promised to create a sponsorship program focused on diverse talent.

Globally, Edelman had 5,703 employees in 2019, according to the PRWeek Agency Business Report 2020. In June, the firm laid off 390 staffers, just under 7% of its global staff, in response to COVID-19 pandemic economic pressures.

The agency has released the overall percentage of the racial and ethnic diversity of its U.S. staff since 2018, according to the statement. This is the first time it provided a detailed racial breakdown.

Last week, DJE Holdings sister agency Zeno Group released its workforce diversity statistics, as did Weber Shandwick last month.

Edelman’s 2019 revenue was flat at $892 million, according to PRWeek’s Agency Business Report 2020.

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