From Diversity to Inclusion: The Progression of Equality in Public Relations and Challenges for the Future

From Diversity to Inclusion [PDF] is a qualitative exploration of attitudes and experiences towards diversity issues impacting public relations.

Conducted by the CIPR's Diversity Working Group, the report delves deep into views of over 30 PR professionals who shared their views in an innovative digital research project and took part in roundtable discussions held in London and Leeds.

The findings point towards the need for Public Relations to adopt a mature approach to diversity and inclusion. The report reveals that PR must take ownership of the diversity agenda by delivering inclusive leadership and ensuring inclusive communications are factored into campaign planning.

Key findings include:

  • "Disability in PR is a dirty secret" – overlooked by public relations agencies and in-house teams
  • Evidence of active discrimination of ethnic minorities in recruitment – and a lacklustre impetus for change amongst PR leaders
  • "PR's obsession with youth" and pursuit of digital natives has resulted in older professionals being made to feel "out of touch"
  • A complacent approach to sexuality has led to non-heterosexual professionals feeling uncomfortable about being themselves in certain sectors
  • On gender equality – a feeling of injustice amongst women starting families that has been amplified by inflexible working cultures, created by an imbalance of men in leadership positions, resulting in a gender pay gap of £12,591 (Note: as recorded in CIPR State of the Profession 2015)

The report also features four separate future-facing, thought leadership pieces that articulate the business case for diversity and feature take-away guidance for communications professionals.

PR is a vital business function. If we get diversity and inclusion right within our industry it will put us ahead of our clients, but at the moment we are lagging behind. I'd encourage practitioners from all backgrounds, but particularly our industry leaders, to read the research findings and case studies, watch the videos, listen to what is being said; the case for change is compelling. Use the checklist to see how your organisation shapes up and put diversity and inclusion at the top of your strategic priorities for 2016.

Catherine Grinyer MCIPR, Chair of the CIPR Diversity Working Group and Founder of Big Voice Communications

Video clips

A short summary of the key research themes are summarised in the video below. The video was produced by Kiosk HQ.