Blurred outlines plans to become 40 per cent BME team and carbon neutral

Blurred has set ambitious medium-term targets to improve the ethnic diversity of its workforce and become a 'net zero' business.

Recent recruits (L-R): Lejohn Dillon and Anisha Vikram Shah
Recent recruits (L-R): Lejohn Dillon and Anisha Vikram Shah

The strategic and creative communications consultancy said at least 40 per cent of its workforce should come from BME backgrounds by 2023. 

Among senior ranks, where BME representation is typically poor, Blurred has committed to employing BME talent for at least 20 per cent of senior roles, rising to 30 per cent by 2023.

Blurred’s current core team is 21 per cent BME and 10 per cent BME in senior roles. The consultancy said there is no ethnic pay gap.

The consultancy employs 14 permanent staff and a cohort of consultants. Recently it hired BME talent in consulting director Anisha Vikram Shah and junior consultant Lejohn Dillon.

Across the PR industry, less than 10 per cent of the workforce is from BME backgrounds, a percentage that drops to low single digits among the leadership ranks.

The consultancy has also committed to women holding at least 50 per cent of its core and senior roles (it is currently 69 per cent core, 70 per cent senior) and no gender pay gaps.

“We’ve built Blurred as a values-led business and we believe in diversity, not just because it’s right but because it’s an essential part of being best-in-class at what we do,” Blurred co-founder and chief executive Nik Govier said. 

“Our clients have complex problems that cannot be solved without a breadth of different experiences, diverse thinking and fresh perspectives. Views of the world drawn only from one small sector of society won’t deliver. As a dyslexic CEO I know first-hand the benefit that different thinking brings.” 

D&I initiatives

Blurred, which has been awarded ‘ally’ status with The Blueprint programme and is PRWeek UK’s New Consultancy of the Year, said it aims to improve diversity and inclusion through several initiatives beyond rebalancing its workforce.

Among these is supporting individuals from within specific BME groups that are statistically the most disadvantaged and least likely to benefit from professional workplace opportunities.

The firm has programmes in place to support this, including a joint initiative with Morpeth School, a secondary school in Tower Hamlets, East London. Blurred’s BME-focused paid intern programme allows talent the opportunity to engage directly with its employees and shadow ongoing work on client projects on a virtual basis.

Other initiatives include fortnightly executive coaching with its head of people and purpose, Nick Porter; full workplace flexibility; a culture that does not tolerate discrimination, harassment, victimisation, bullying, intimidation and microaggressions; and provisions to respect different cultures and religions. 

The consultancy also provides regular and transparent performance reviews.

Climate crisis pledge

In a separate move, Blurred has committed to operating as a net-zero carbon impact business under its Working from Anywhere (WFA) framework.

Blurred introduced the framework in August, making the decision to close its office on Mondays and Fridays on a permanent basis.

Blurred has already switched to a 100 per cent renewable electricity supplier for its own office and is helping employees who work from home to reduce the emissions associated with their household electricity consumption. This includes offering all staff an annual subsidy if switching to a renewable power supplier at home leads to an increase in costs.

Blurred has also issued a ban on non-essential business-related flights; a ‘zero print’ commitment to reduce paper use; and a ‘zero waste’ commitment to minimise the presence of single-use plastic products and ensure effective recycling.

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