Most people are aware that public relations is dominated by women, which helps make our industry one of the most dynamic and progressive. But diversity is much broader than gender, and most PR agencies fall short of diverse employment, impeding their ability to hire the best talent and represent the constituents that are most important to clients.
In today’s supercharged political climate, where inclusion is at the center of the debate, it’s important for PR agencies – in fact, all companies – to review hiring criteria with regard to diversity. We need to open our minds to a broader definition of diversity, beyond simply race and ethnicity, to include sexual orientation, disabilities, age, national status, veteran status, level within an organization, socio-economic status and tenure within an organization.
This doesn’t mean that racial diversity doesn’t need to be addressed. According to the 2016 U.S. Census, African Americans make up 13.3 percent of the population, but they only represent 8 percent of employees in PR agencies.
As we draw closer to the end of the second decade of the 21st century, the idea of achieving greater diversity and inclusion could not be more important. Our population is quickly moving away from a homogeneous standard toward a brilliant fusion of cultures, perspectives and experiences that enrich our lives.
Why We Must Change
Seismic shifts are coming that will accelerate the pace of change. According to the U.S. Census, we are trending toward a big decrease in the percentage of whites (I dislike these categorizations, but I’m using the terms used by the U.S. Census) and toward a big increase in Hispanic, Asian and combined races.
According to the U.S. Census, American diversity continues to rise, with all racial minorities growing faster than whites. While the Asian and mixed-race population grew by 3 percent between 2015 and 2016 (the most recent data available), the non-Hispanic white population decreased by 163,300 nationally. In fact, the non-Hispanic white population remains the only segment where deaths surpass births, and that trend is expected to continue.
Our team is made up of a wide array of diverse individuals who represent the entire spectrum of diversity defined above. The diversity of our company has resulted from a brilliant team of multicultural, multilingual and multifaceted digital and public relations experts who represent the increasingly diverse media targets we’re trying to reach for our clients.
It is no coincidence that our record year in growth coincided with our growing diversity. Our diversity helps us recruit more effectively and create a better environment for all employees – and that’s true for all companies. Here’s a list of business benefits of broader inclusion and diversity that positively impact the bottom line:
- You create a more inviting workplace.
- You form a team that’s better aligned with client organizations.
- Employees bring a richer cultural and experiential perspective to their work.
- The company fits in with a more global economy and workforce.
- You hire the best people (education, business experience).
- Major metropolitan areas have much greater diversity, and there are more commercial opportunities for PR firms in large cities.
Our world is getting smaller, and, thankfully, most people are becoming more open to hiring people with different ages, experiences, identities and skin colors. PR agencies have an opportunity to help lead this trend, and Tech Image is committed to being an industry leader.