The Public Relations and Communications industry urgently needs greater representation of BAME employees at senior levels. You can help us accelerate this.
The funding through the Aviva Community Fund programme will help us develop a targeted leadership programme for our alumni that will help them move up the career ladder.
Why this is important
Industry research has shown that only around 8% of people currently working in the PR and Communications industry are from a BAME background. Many aren’t aware, but PR and Communications is part of the wider media industry and plays a critical role in helping inform public opinion and government policy. Not only this but people working in the profession ensure companies make better decisions about how they communicate with customers and other important audiences.
If you have read something in a newspaper, seen it on TV or even across social media, the chances are that there has been a PR representative working to help influence that story. But like the wider media industry, if we don’t have enough people from minority backgrounds working in PR and Communications, we risk creating an environment of exclusion and alienation.
Since our inception over 10 years ago, the Taylor Bennett Foundation PR Training programme has provided bespoke training to over 200 young people from BAME backgrounds. And we’re proud to see that 62% of them are still working in communications. In 2019, 100% of graduates completing the PR Training programme went straight into employment or a fixed term contract.
But the challenge is that of our alumni, 14% are in senior roles. This is good but we can do better. The challenge is often talked about as the ‘squeezed middle’, where minority talent needs greater support in making it across middle management positions into senior leadership. There are a number of reasons as to why this is and last year, we asked our alumni to help us understand what they felt were their barriers to progression. They said:
“I’m still not being offered exec roles, even after gaining substantial experience within the company I’m currently employed.”
“I’ve had multiple experiences of not being given similar tasks to peers and I feel like I’m not seen as capable by senior staff.”
“I felt that colleagues were getting recognised and promoted ahead of me because they knew the system and how to promote themselves whereas my way of thinking was that if I work hard it will get recognised which was not always the case.”
This year, we did a survey asking our alumni to let us know what they needed from us to help them with career progression in the PR industry. An overwhelming 71% said access to leadership training.
Through this crowd funding initiative, our programme will focus on empowering our alumni, to build their confidence and to support them with becoming powerful negotiators. Through a series of interactive sessions, over the duration of the programme, we will help our alumni to achieve their full career potential.
Why we can do this
The Taylor Bennett Foundation (TBF) is a charity, established in 2008 by executive search firm Taylor Bennett, to address the need for greater diversity within the Public Relations (PR) and Communications industry, specifically encouraging people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds to pursue a career in PR and Communications.
Our core programmes are:
- Our flagship PR Training programme
- Summer Stars internship programme
- PR Mentoring programme
The PR Training programme runs three times a year and equips trainees with the skills, knowledge and experience to begin a career in communications. For each course, the TBF team strive to offer a range of differentiated masterclasses delivered by a range of agencies and in-house comms teams, who provide extensive industry insight and the development of soft skills, including English tuition to boost participants writing skills.
The Summer Stars internship programme launched in 2018 and offers paid internships with agencies and in-house communications teams for students and graduates (18+). The internships start with a 3-day intensive bootcamp which provides the interns with the opportunity to build their knowledge of the industry, before heading out into the workplace.
In terms of social mobility, the Summer Stars programme also makes a difference. 87% of our placed candidates were state educated, 51% were first generation in their family to go to university and 57% came from households that had an income of less than £30,000.00.
The PR Mentoring programme was developed in 2016 to help young people best prepare for entry into the industry. The mentoring programme runs for six-months and is an opportunity for BAME candidates to not only gain a clear understanding of the PR industry, but also gain insight into the different strands of the sector. Mentors are experienced PR practitioners within the industry.
Don’t take our word for it
One of our 2019 interns, who took part in our Summer Stars programme said:
"As a Muslim woman, glass ceilings are often pointed out but never dented. It takes a fairly good internship to make you feel as though you’ve broken that glass ceiling, but it takes a phenomenal experience to make you feel as though it was never even there. Two months packed with the most amazing opportunities and surrounded by the most thoughtful colleagues, pouring endless time into my growth and development."
Satyen Dayal, Executive Director at leading PR and Communications firm says:
“The Taylor Bennett Foundation plays one of the most vital roles in helping drive diversity in our industry. It opens much needed doors for young people from BAME backgrounds to find a path into PR and Communications. It also builds a valuable support network which is essential to their progress and development.”