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Nearly three in four professionals say they experience ‘discriminatory or exclusionary’ workplace behaviour

07
March
2024
| 09:52 Europe/London

New research from The Young Foundation, conducted on behalf of 12 professional membership and regulatory bodies, including the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR), reveals that while equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) initiatives are increasingly commonplace, there is growing scepticism among professionals that these are ‘box-ticking’ exercises.

The report, Beyond Buzzwords, cautions that unless change is urgently prioritised, recent progress risks unravelling.

The research incorporates insights from more than 7,000 professionals across accountancy, engineering, health and safety, facilities management, human resources, insurance, law, management, procurement and public relations.

It finds nearly three-quarters of respondents had experienced barriers to career progression (73%) or some form of 'discriminatory or exclusionary’ behaviour in their workplace since the start of 2019 (72%). Negative experiences were even more pronounced among those with multiple marginalised characteristics.

Key concerns emerging from the research include:

  • Widespread scepticism that ambitious EDI goals are being translated into meaningful actions, with a perception that rhetoric and box-ticking exercises bring few tangible improvements. As a result, support for EDI efforts seems to be waning.
  • Access and entry routes into many professions that remain challenging for people from minority backgrounds, with systemic barriers related to affordability of qualifications, accessibility issues, and lack of role models. This contradicts notions that professional success is based on merit.  
  • Many professionals feeling excluded from informal networks and opportunities to develop. More than half (53%) have considered leaving their employer or profession due to EDI concerns, related to feeling undervalued or having limited scope to progress.  

However, the research shows that tailored solutions can have significant impacts. It reveals a range of initiatives viewed as effective when well-executed: from normalising flexible working and creating accessible learning resources, to targeted development programmes and removing biases in hiring.

To drive change, the report proposes professional and regulatory bodies can raise the bar for accountable, ethical professions with respect to EDI. It also includes further recommendations, categorised by audience, for organisations involved in this research, policymakers, employers, and individual professionals.

Ultimately, achieving systemic change demands multi-stakeholder commitments.

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Search engines most used sources of information for policy makers

28
February
2024
| 09:43 Europe/London

New research from the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) has found that traditional media and search engines are dominant sources for policy makers looking for evidence-based information. Published today, the report’s findings demonstrate that issuing press releases, publishing articles on websites, and sharing information on social media should form part of a wider policy engagement strategy.

Authored by Dr Caroline Wood, Research Communications Manager at the University of Oxford, the report - 'Communicating evidence to policy makers – what works best?' - surveyed 132 policy makers across the UK. It explores which channels are most effective in communicating evidence and information to policy makers, and the features and formats that make information sources most useful.

When asked what sources respondents used when needing to access evidence-based information, search engines were the most popular tools with nearly four in five (79%) policy makers saying they use them nearly always or often. The next most used sources were reports from think tanks, NGOs, campaign groups, and learned societies (58%), then mainstream media and news outlets (57%).

Participants were also asked about the barriers they faced when trying to access evidence-based information. -This revealed that the biggest frustrations are paywalls and subscriptions (98%), information not being impartial (90%), and lengthy papers that do not include a summary (89%)-. Nearly one-third (31%) of participants also said that information frequently lacks policy recommendations or practical suggestions.

Based on these new findings, the paper includes a toolkit of 12 top tips for communicating effectively with policy makers. The report also features interviews about what makes good evidence-based information with:

  • Tim Bearder, Councillor for Oxfordshire County Council and South Oxfordshire District Council
  • Julieta Cuneo, Night-Time Policy Specialist, Mayor of London
  • Sam Lister, Director General for Strategy and Operations at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, DCMS
  • Lord Ralph Lucas
  • Paul Sweeney, Member of the Scottish Parliament
  • A Parliamentary Researcher for Senedd Cymru, the Welsh Parliament

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News publishers must innovate to meet shifting Gen Z needs

19
February
2024
| 09:25 Europe/London

Traditional news outlets seeking to engage younger audiences must embrace innovation or risk declining relevance, according to new research published by the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR).

The report – ‘What does news media mean to Gen Z?’ – was conducted by Rebecca Roberts, founder of Thread & Fable, and funded under the Institute’s Research Fund. It investigates the media habits of Gen Z in the UK and how the rise of digital formats has changed how younger generations view, trust, and interact with news compared to older groups, painting both challenges and opportunities for publishers.

Through a literature review and exclusive interviews as well as fresh survey insight from a youth audience, the report finds that outlets not evolving fast enough are losing out to social media personalities and influencers who better understand the on-demand, interactive, visual preferences of younger audiences. The report notes that participation in news across younger audiences is more passive and that the 24/7 relationship with unfiltered, social media content is failing to capture limited attention spans while reducing trust in traditional news outlets. However, where news outlets are consulting their audiences, exploring new technology, and building unique communities around news content, there are opportunities for publishers to build connections with a younger demographic.

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