Take a minute to look around. See anything different? Do you see more Caucasian people than African Americans? More Latino than Chinese? Why would you when this is where you live your everyday life? The world we live in now is what we know. Now, imagine. Imagine in roughly 40 years it will all change. I had never thought that diversity in the workplace was such an issue until today.
As diversity issues in the workplace are increasing, so are demographics. How these are related you ask? Changing demographics in the United States are predicting Caucasians to be the minority by 2055 or 2060. Hispanics, Asians and Africa Americans are expected to be the majority. Who could have guessed that? This only proves that the workplace is becoming more heterogeneous. Not only people of color, but also gays, lesbians and the disabled are making a stand for employment, the workforce cannot afford to overlook these individuals (Hon, 2000). You are probably wondering what this has to do with Public Relations. Well, an easier way to look at this situation would be to recognize that the more diverse people you have working in your environment will only bring more diverse ideas to the table. A wider range of ideas will give your company a better chance of succeeding. Hon states that there is a growing sentiment that diverse employee teams outperform homogenous teams of any composition. Homogeneous groups may reach consensus more quickly, but often are not as successful in generating new ideas or solving problems, because their collective perspective is smaller. (Hon, 2000)
So, How can we improve diversity in the workplace? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of 2011 advertising, marketing and public relations jobs are held by a total of 8.7 percent African-Americans, Blacks, 7.3 percent Asian Americans Pacific Islanders and 15.3 percent Hispanics/Latinos. Howley states that there needs to be an increase in diversity at the top in order to see change. This means having more ethnic minorities who are executives and key decision-makers. By doing this, we can create a more diverse working environment, which means strategically successful campaigns that ultimately produce mean a greater return on investment (Howley, 2013).
In Gallicano’s article it is stated that practitioners have used several strategies in the workplace to overcome these challenges. A key strategy is having a mentor, which is “essential to the empowerment of minority public relations practitioners”. Other strategies, resilience to discrimination, quitting, demand respect, educating clients and supervisors (Gallicano, 2013).
Gallicano, T. D. (2013). Millennials’ Perceptions About Diversity in Their PR
Agencies. Public Relations Journal, 7 (2), 37-70. Retrieved from http://www.prsa.org/Intelligence/PRJournal/Documents?20132Gallicano.pdf
Hon, L., & Brunner, B. (2000). Diversity Issues and Public Relations. Journal Of Public Relations Research, 12(4), 309-340. Retrieved http://web.ebscohost.com/ehost/detail?sid=b9122c54-98a5-47b5-8cd1-154b121e76f2%40sessionmgr198&vid=2&hid=112&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2
Howley, S. (2013) Diversity In The PR Industry: A Lot More Work To Be Done.
The Holmes Report. Retrieved from http://holmesreport.com/opinion-info/13328/Diversity-In-The-PR-Industry-A-Lot-More-Work-T0-Be-Done.aspx