Recruiting Diverse Public Relations Students

Some organizations have noted that they do not have public relations practitioners from diverse backgrounds because of issues recruiting and retaining top talent.

Angela Chitkara (2018) found that the issue is because potential hires may not be aware of the profession, the pay isn’t competitive compared to fields, and, if hired, they may not have the training/mentoring they need to advance from entry-level positions.

Culture could contribute to why some Asians, Hispanics, and Latinos do not enter the public relations profession. Jing Qiu and Nancy Muturi (2016) note that some Asians may view public relations as “self-promotion” and “face-saving,” which are discouraged in their culture built on strong community and family ties.

Henry Cervera Nique (2016), a public relations professional from Peru, noted that Hispanic and Latino families have similar expectations of career choices for their children. “Our academic and career goals may be in conflict with the cultural expectations of our families and cultural surroundings,” Nique noted when discussing the criticism he faced for choosing to study public relations.

Qui, Muturi, and Nique point out that Asian, Hispanic and Latino parents teach their children more about becoming leaders in fields, such as science, engineering, medicine, and law and less about the arts and humanities.Students

Qiu and Muturi suggest that because Asian families have a major influence on career choice, parents and community members must be educated about public relations. They also must be told about the difference between technician and managerial roles for those interested in leadership positions and the scientific nature of research in the public relations profession.

Other public relations scholars and practitioners have explored why there are not more minority public relations practitioners and how to recruit and retain them. Kenon A. Brown, Candace White, and Damion Waymer (2011) suggest that the first step is getting students of color interested in majoring in public relations, helping them have a successful college experience while studying the field, and providing the support they need to succeed when they enter the profession.

Their recommendations include visiting high schools, recruiting students of color to recruit others, recruiting minority students to serve in leadership roles with student organizations such as the Public Relations Student Society of America, inviting minority speakers, and hiring minority adjunct professors.

Brown, Waymer, and Ziyuan Zhou (2019) surveyed nearly 300 public relations students who were white, Black, Hispanic or Latinx to see if they had different educational experiences based on their racial background or gender. Their findings show that race and gender played significant roles.

They reported similar recommendations but other suggestions include more professional networking and mentoring opportunities, getting male students and others from underrepresented backgrounds to interact with other students, and discussing public relations diversity issues in the classroom.

Next Page: Retaining Diverse Public Relations Practitioners