Pledge your support to tackle ethnic diversity gap in public relations

The Taylor Bennett Foundation has launched a £50,000 campaign to expand its programme to encourage black, Asian and ethnic minority candidates to consider a career in public relations.

The numbers tell the story. The UK public relations industry is white, middle class and concentrated in London.

86% of the population identify as white according to 2011 Census data for England and Wales.

The PRCA Census in 2016 (opens as a PDF) identified a gap of five percent between the profession and the public, with 91% of practitioners identifying as white.

The 2017 CIPR State of the Profession survey (opens as a PDF) puts the number at 90%.

The profession should reflect the public that it purports to represent.

The gap of four or five percent is a deficit of up to 2,500 black, Asian and ethnic minority candidates (BAME) according to Office for National Statistics UK employment data for 2016.

The Taylor Bennett Foundation is an important initiative founded in 2007 to tackle this imbalance.

Its goal is to encourage black, Asian and ethnic minority graduates to pursue a career in communications and address the gap.

In the ten years since it was founded more than 170 graduates have been through the Taylor Bennett Foundation traineeship programmes.

Candidates receive a salary from the foundation throughout the 10-week programme, removing a critical barrier to access.

More than 700 candidates have attended a graduate assessment day and received detailed feedback on their performance to help with their job search.

95% of its alumni are employed. 70% are working in public relations and communications roles.

Last year it launched a mentoring programme to help a further 100 BAME graduates per year and increase its impact.

The Taylor Bennett Foundation was spotlighted as diversity best practice in the McGregor-Smith report on race in the workplace.

The charity operates with a lean staff on a £300,000 a year budget. Half of the its funding comes from agency sponsors and the balance from fundraising.

More than 150 agencies and in-house teams have hosted three hour visits to show our trainees what life in PR is actually like, including Buckingham Palace and 10 Downing Street.

It’s launched a £50,000 appeal in a bid to run four traineeship programmes per year, expand beyond London, and start a campaign in BAME communities promoting public relations as a viable career choice.

The charity’s chief executive Sarah Stimson has written about the appeal on her blog.

You can help support its work by making a donation. £10 would be good; £20 would be great; and £50 would be amazing.

I’ve pledged £50. Please join me and help our profession better represent the public.


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Stephen Waddington

Partner and Chief Engagement Officer, Ketchum and Visiting Professor in Practice, Newcastle University. Author #brandvandals, #PRstack, Share This, and others.

Posted in Diversity, Editor's Picks, Public Relations
One comment on “Pledge your support to tackle ethnic diversity gap in public relations
  1. Tim Taylor says:

    Hi – how about other diversity measures? Are there similar gaps on gender, disability and sexual orientation. If so it would make sense to have a broader diversity agenda for PR.

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