PR must assume a mature approach to diversity and inclusion says CIPR DWG

A new research report, published today by the Chartered Institute of Public Relations’ Diversity Working Group (CIPR DWG) marking its 5th anniversary, is calling on businesses in public relations to take greater ownership of the diversity agenda, embed a more mature approach to deliver genuine inclusive leadership, and ensure inclusive communications is factored in to the delivery of all public relations campaigns.

This call-to-action is prompted by the findings of a qualitative research study of more than 30 PR professionals, from a range of disciplines and backgrounds, which recorded personal experiences and perceptions across a range of ‘diversity issues’ including ethnicity, sexuality, disability, gender equality and age equality.

The findings reveal:

  • “Disability in PR is a dirty secret” often overlooked by PR businesses and the industry’s representative bodies
  • Evidence of active discrimination of ethnic minorities in recruitment – and general slow progress on the issue down to a lack of impetus for change
  • “PR’s obsession with youth” and pursuit of digital natives has resulted in older professionals being made to feel “out of touch”
  • A complacent approach to sexuality has led to non-heterosexual professionals feeling uncomfortable about being themselves in certain sectors
  • On gender equality – a feeling of injustice amongst women starting families that has been amplified by inflexible working cultures, created by an imbalance of men in leadership positions, resulting in a gender pay gap of £12,591 (Note: as recorded in CIPR State of the Profession 2015)

The research was conducted both through face-to-face roundtables hosted in London and Leeds, and through the use of innovative mobile research platform Kiosk, which prompted participants to record and share video feedback on a range of issues via their smartphones.

In addition to presenting the research findings, the report also contains four separate pieces of reflective thought leadership, issued as a challenge for public relations professionals to take a lead on delivering diversity and inclusion in their own organisations. These are titled:

  • ‘Embrace diversity or fail’
  • ‘Is your organsation future proof?’
  • ‘The future challenge’
  • ‘What can you do?’
Catherine Grinyer MCIPR, Chair of the CIPR Diversity Working Group
PR is a vital business function. If we get diversity and inclusion right within our industry it will put us ahead of our colleagues and clients but, at the moment, we are lagging behind.

We should be drawing on a range of diverse talent and communicating with diverse audiences, but we are not. If we don’t understand how to embed inclusion and become skilled at delivering more inclusive campaigns, then we are failing at our job.

I’d encourage practitioners from all backgrounds, but particularly our industry leaders, to read the research findings and case studies, watch the videos, and listen to what is being said; the case for change is compelling. Use the checklist to see how your organisation shapes up and put diversity and inclusion at the top of your strategic priorities for 2016.
Catherine Grinyer MCIPR, Chair of the CIPR Diversity Working Group

The report and further video content from Kiosk HQ can be accessed via the CIPR website at

Notes to editors

About the CIPR Diversity Working Group (CIPR DWG)

Founded in August 2010, the CIPR’s Diversity Working Group (CIPR DWG), exists to o develop an inclusive culture, raise general awareness of diversity within the public relations industry and increase the number of public relations practitioners from all backgrounds.

Its objectives are to:

  1. Promote equal access opportunities by raising awareness of the business and ethical cases for diversity and inclusion in public relations
  2. Improve understanding of the importance of planning and delivering inclusive communications, and factoring diverse audiences into campaign management
  3. Be the voice and represent the interests of public relations professionals from diverse backgrounds.

Current CIPR DWG members are:

  • Catherine Grinyer MCIPR, CIPR DWG Chair and Founder, Big Voice Communications
  • Alex Louis MCIPR, CIPR DWG Deputy Chair and Associate Director, Verve Communications
  • Cornelius Alexander Chart.PR FCIPR, Past Chair of CIPR DWG
  • Andrew Barratt,
  • Avril Lee MCIPR, UK and EMEA Lead of Health Division, MSL Group
  • Harish Bhayani, Senior Partner, PRM Diversity Consultants

About Kiosk

Kiosk is a content creation company driven by smart thinking.

Our thinking has evolved over a number of years, and we are now able to utilise content to provide depth and understanding across a wide range of issues – including marketing, communications and brand and product development.

We leverage our global-reach, understanding of culture, and in-house language expertise to connect with consumers, stakeholders and end-users all over the world, providing innovative solutions in content creation so that impact can be seen and understood in context.

In short, we provide user generated content that is carefully crafted and editorially managed to allow clients and agencies to get closer to users and consumers in context and allows that content to be developed to give depth to varied marketing, product development and promotional needs.

To see examples of our video content, harnessed specifically for client and agency partners, visit our website: or email

About the Chartered Institute of Public Relations

Founded in 1948, the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) is the professional body for public relations practitioners in the UK. With over 10,000 members involved in all aspects of public relations, it is the largest body of its type in Europe.

The CIPR advances professionalism in public relations by making its members accountable to their employers and the public through a code of conduct and searchable public register, setting standards through training, qualifications and the production of best practice and skills guidance, facilitating Continuing Professional Development (CPD), and awarding Chartered Public Relations Practitioner status (Chart.PR).

The CIPR was granted its Royal Charter by the Privy Council in February 2005.