PRSAHR Diversity Survey Feedback

    Thank you to everyone who took the time complete the chapter’s recent online member diversity survey. Thirty percent of our membership generously responded. Here’s some of what we learned: 

    • The larger part of our responding membership is over 40 years old, and has been working in the PR industry for over 15 years.
    • The majority of respondents were female, which came as no surprise because nationwide women make up 63 percent of public relations specialists, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data, and 59 percent of all PR manager positions.
    • Something else that was not a surprise, but offered food for thought, was that 76 percent of those responding identified as Caucasian, with 10 percent identifying as African American, and six percent identifying as other.  This outcome reflects what many industry studies indicate, and what the national PRSA Diversity & Inclusion Committee is working to address. They tell us that “while our industry has come a long way, the industry as a whole still struggles to attract young African Americans, Asians and Hispanics to pursue public relations as a career of choice.“
    • 27 percent of respondents work for government or military public affairs offices, while 18 percent work for PR agencies or full-service advertising agencies.
    • Almost 11 percent are sole practitioners.
    • The remaining 44 percent work for small business or corporate entities, nonprofit and healthcare organizations.
    • 39 percent of respondents said hey would definitely like to see our organization dedicate resources that address our diversity and enhance the benefits of membership in our chapter.


    So, now that we have this data, how will we use it?

    At the end of the survey, we asked those members who might be willing to serve on our chapter Diversity Committee or special-interest subcommittee to identify themselves. We were so pleased to have seven individuals come forward. We are reaching out to these members and hope to schedule an initial committee meeting before the end of March. So, if there is anyone still out there who didn’t get a chance to volunteer and would like to, please contact me as soon as possible. We’d love to have your participation!

    Diversity in an organization is not limited to race or age of its membership. It includes diversity of thought, culture and experience. So, in the coming weeks and months, our committee/subcommittees will be communicating our ideas and plans and asking for your feedback. We are working to create a member experience that exemplifies our diversity and expands the benefits of membership in our chapter for both young and seasoned PR practitioners in Hampton Roads. 

    Debbie Schwartz, Diversity Committee Chair
    (757) 222-4520 or dschwartz@ssseva.org

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