PR Week, the must read trade magazine for us public relations folks wrote a fantastic feature on The PR Census 2013 which has been published including some startling facts and figures that stood out like a sore thumb.
One of these was the ongoing lack of diversity in the PR industry which I myself have become aware of, having embarked on a programme which is tackling the problem right now. I’ve tried to understand as a British Asian why there is such a problem and I’ve come to the conclusion that Asian parents push their children into pursuing a respected profession such as a doctor, pharmacist, lawyer or accountant so PR is never considered. Take me as an example. Ok, I studied Biology because I liked sciences, but I equally knew that my parents wanted me to pursue sciences because it’s so darn clever and I would end up with a good job. That’s how the cookie crumbles in Asian families in all honesty. I just happened to discover the profession during a phase after graduating, where job searches with the search term ‘biology degree’ brought up ‘PR account executive’ in the results list. Otherwise I would have been oblivious to such a profession (which is a scary thought as I am really enjoying my job!)
I think we need to start educating teenagers at school about PR. It’s such a small sector that it wouldn’t be a glaringly obvious profession that anyone would think of when pondering what they want to do anyway. The Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) have taken that step of now educating children on what public relations is all about which is great because every child from every background will understand what PR entails. As Ruth Wyatt, writer of the feature points out:
The broader the range of people working in PR, the better able the discipline is to engage with its many and varied audiences.
She is spot on. Britain is a multicultural nation and in order to communicate key messages effectively, understanding demographics is important. Diversity in the PR sector will only help in understanding clients and their needs.