FRIDAY 31 MAR 2023 11:15 AM


Research by the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) reveals the lack of diversity across public relations and the industry’s struggle to reach potential recruits.

The public relations industry employs nearly 100,000 people but is still ‘simply not understood’ as a career by many potential recruits, according to new research by the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR). Among others it is considered ‘out of reach’, as a lack of diversity and an exclusive reputation deters potential talent.

The ‘Levelling Up Public Relations’ report, which involved public relations practitioners and students interested in entering the profession, found that the vast majority (86%) of practitioners are university educated, and there exists a shortfall of around 13,500 people from wider socio-economic groups. 

Further findings show that almost a quarter of respondents feel that where they come from - as well as their age - has an impact on career progression, a majority were unaware of PR as a career until at university or already working and a majority of PR students believed pursuing a career in the industry would require moving to a large city.

“I hope this research sparks a debate about how the industry can do more to give people and places across the country opportunities in PR and communications and ensure the richness of UK voices are properly heard,” Lord Kerslake, who chaired a previous study into regional inequalities which anticipated the levelling-up agenda, says.

“A central purpose of communication is to give voice to a diverse range people and it has to be a cause for concern many of the people crafting those messages and leading the industry are from a comparatively narrow strata of society. This is not just about gender and ethnicity - it’s also about where people come from, because place matters and is a decisive factor in identity and outlook.

“The danger is that this has an unseen impact on the perspectives presented by that communication, failing to provide a full picture and risking its own form of exclusion.”