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A recent article from PR Week suggests that despite the detriment to its work and reputation, the PR industry is still struggling to think differently about how it can diversify its workforce.

Talk is cheap and has been over the last few years where various schemes have been launched by agencies and brands. The perception of the industry doesn’t appear to have changed and when we look at the overview of PR agencies in the UK, the red-brick, middle-class, white graduate is still the dominant stereotype which appears to walk through the door.

There is no small talk here at MWWPR. Instead, it is all about actions to help attract more BAME candidates to the PR industry. That is why this week, we hosted our third session with The Taylor Bennett Foundation (TBF) which works with the industry to increase the number of people from black and minority ethnic backgrounds (BAME) working in PR and comms. The foundation really makes a difference, and through actions.

So to that end, here are three actions which PR teams across the UK can conduct now in order to attract more BAME candidates to the PR industry:

Listen –

Our session this week with TBF students probably resulted in more discussion, than our team actually presenting to them. We wanted to understand what challenges they have faced to try and enter the industry. One candidate even mentioned that viewing an agency website with headshots of just an all-white board was enough to put her off applying. We can only resolve the issues if we know exactly what they are, and from the people that matter. It doesn’t need to be a formal setting either and could even be through social media. Don’t assume what issues they face. Instead, the candidates should be heard.

Maintain peer-to-peer contact –

Our Account Executives met the TBF students to talk about their PR experience to-date and the ways they managed to get into the industry. But it won’t stop there, and the executives will be encouraged to buddy up and maintain contact with the TBF students throughout the year. Being available to provide advice in a prompt manner will prove invaluable, whether it be help with CV writing or suggested brands and agencies to apply for. Long-term relationships will help candidates, more so than just a one-off each year.

But above all else, open up as an agency and be honest about the challenge at hand –

Where a lot of talk is around ‘industry change’ it should be reassuring for BAME candidates to see that larger corporations are happy to go on record and say that they need to be more inclusive. This is an action that can then break down barriers and which can only be applauded.

For more information on MWWPR London and if you would like to apply for an internship to work here, then please email kmather@mww.com or telephone 020 7046 6080.   

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