The PR and communications industry must change its approach if it wants to recruit people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds, says Kuldeep Mehmi, a graduate of the Taylor Bennett Foundation and director at FTI Consulting.
Our recent webinar Diversity in Comms, highlighted the work of the foundation, which is the PRCA’s charity of the year. Kuldeep was our guest and he said: ‘I think that it is more of a question of how you attract your candidate base. There is a number of things you can do; look back at where you advertise – maybe you can advertise in different places for the role, for example through a diversity charity like the Taylor Bennett Foundation.’
He also suggested that if using an external recruitment agency, employers should ask their recruiters to provide a more diverse candidate shortlist.
For the wider industry this might mean recruitment processes have to change as the challenge is attracting people who are ‘not going to actively seek out the communications industry’.
To do this, he added, the Taylor Bennett Foundation is actively seeking out speaking opportunities at Universities and schools to reach these audiences.
It also runs networking events and a 10-week ‘traineeship’ where the trainees get access to mentors in the industry and are taught about how different aspects of PR and communications work. ‘It was very intense and highly educational,’ Mehmi explained, having completed the course in 2012.
The traineeship helped him get his first role in PR with agency MHP.
‘It is very important to open those same doors for other people who want to enter the communications industry, people who don’t have a network to rely on,’ he said.
A recording of the webinar will be available next week.