‘Changing the statistics’ – how PRSA is driving new initiatives to encourage greater diversity in PR and communication management
If numbers don’t lie, then the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has confirmed what many in the US already believed to be true – the public relations profession in the US has a diversity problem.
As of 2011, the BLS reported that only 8.7 percent of African-American/Blacks, 7.3 percent of Asian-Americans/Pacific Islanders and 15.3 percent of Hispanics/Latinos possess jobs in the fields of advertising, marketing and public relations.
Research from business schools on productivity, performance and profitability shows that diverse teams of people bring multiple perspectives to problem solving, which results in strategic decisions that more fully reflect community demographics. A diversity of thought, of experiences and of ideas provides clients with the best results for their business and communication needs.
The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) is taking steps to change the statistics and help ethnically diverse students discover the wonders and creativity of the public relations profession. Diversity initiatives represent a necessary response to a changing world. We wish to actively encourage entry into the public relations profession that mirrors the demographic composition of today’s professionals as well as the communities served by the public relations profession.
To help improve the recruitment, retention and advancement of under-represented groups (beginning with African-Americans and U.S, Hispanics/Latinos) in the public relations profession, PRSA is instituting a multi-year program focused on recruitment, retention, mentoring and other career development elements. The program will include:
- A video series, laying the groundwork for how a young person can become a public relations professional;
- A student guide, providing additional information covering topics such as student coaching, networking and career fairs;
- A Mentoring program, connecting potential young professionals and established veterans in the field; and
- An Ask the Expert section of the Diversity website, where students can pose questions to professionals on topics of diversity, career development, coursework suggestions and more.
The program will arm future public relations professionals with the tools necessary to help make them successful in the early stages of their career.
Mickey G. Nall, APR, Fellow PRSA, is 2013 Chair and CEO of PRSA