There is a lack of ethnic diversity in PR.
It’s obvious, it’s embarrassing for an industry aiming to represent the communities we serve, and there is something we can do to change it.
Stats from various industry surveys highlight the gap, including The PRCA Census in 2016, which identified a gap of 5% between the profession and public, with 91% of practitioners identifying as white (compared to the 2011 census data for England and Wales, which cited 86%).
The Chartered Institute of Public Relations’ State of the Profession survey states the number is 90%.
Wherever you look, whatever numbers you use, it’s plain to see we need to do more to encourage black, Asian and ethnic minority graduates to pursue a career in Communications.
At the forefront of taking action
The Taylor Bennett Foundation was established in 2007 and is widely regarded as being at the forefront of taking action on the lack of ethnic diversity in the PR industry.
In other words, they get results. Not least, through their award-winning training and mentoring programmes.
Writing on her blog, Chief Executive Sarah Stimson (pictured) writes: “In the world of non-profits we’re considered a small charity, with an annual turnover of less than £300,000 a year.
“Much of our funding comes from our generous PR agency sponsors but that only covers about half the cost of running the organisation, our training and mentoring programmes, and supporting our alumni.
“We have to fundraise for the rest. To expand our programmes and increase the number of young people we help, we have to fundraise even more.”
£50,000 before the end of the year
To mark its 10th year, The Taylor Bennett Foundation has launched a £50,000 fundraising campaign.
They want to raise the funds before the end of 2017 to help them continue running four training programmes next year, expand beyond London and launch a profile raising campaign in BAME communities to promote PR as a viable career choice.
Sarah adds: “Everyone I talk to about the Foundation tells me what great work we do, that the industry needs us, that the graduates need us and that we are making a difference not only to the diversity in communications, but importantly offering opportunities to young people who would otherwise not have access to PR as a career.
“We have honed our programmes so that they get fantastic results. Over 70% of our alumni work in communications. Over 700 graduates have attended our assessment days and had detailed feedback to help with their job searches.
“We have the skills, knowledge, passion and experience to deliver brilliant teaching, mentoring and work experience to BAME graduates, but none of it is possible without the funding.”
How you can help
The Foundation is asking the PR industry to demonstrate its commitment to improving diversity by giving to their fundraising appeal to help make a real difference in a young person’s life.
I’ve donated, and encourage you to consider doing the same. See their Just Giving page for all you need to know and to pledge your support.
Applications are currently open for the upcoming courses.
What’s your experience? How are you ensuring your recruiting policies and practices are ethnically diverse? Could your organisation do more?
How could you support the work of the Foundation? Could you host a visit for its trainees? If so, do contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
As ever, you’re welcome to comment below to share your thoughts, or you can Tweet me @AllthingsIC.
Post author: Rachel Miller.
First published on the All Things IC blog 10 August 2017.