HPRA leadership makes call to action to support diversity and promote people of color

LOS ANGELES, CA – A recent survey that revealed barriers to growth for multicultural public relations professionals should be a wake up call to the industry, according to the Hispanic Public Relations Association (HPRA), a national, non-profit organization that represents Hispanic communications professionals.

In light of the alarming outcome, HPRA hopes action is taken by the industry to support diversity within their organizations and create an environment that significantly values and promotes multicultural professionals.

The survey was conducted by scholars from The City College of New York and Howard University among non-Caucasian public relations practitioners in the United States.

“Corporate America has clearly acknowledged the approximately $600 billion buying power of the Hispanic market,” said Sandra Bernardo, HPRA president. “As much as Corporate America is reaping the benefits of this burgeoning market, companies have a responsibility to also reflect the nation’s diverse population within its workforce and management ranks.”

Results revealed that 53.7 percent said some employers do not want diverse practitioners working for them, and 54 percent said they have experienced subtle discrimination by their employers and/or fellow employees.

The study also found significant dissatisfaction with the PR profession’s commitment to diversity, perceived pervasive discrimination, and widespread concern that multicultural practitioners are relegated to a slow professional track. It also revealed that Hispanic practitioners experience significantly lower levels of job satisfaction than African Americans. Nearly half of all respondents reported that they are treated unfairly in the workplace.

Bernardo emphasized that companies should work together with organizations such as HPRA to bring about significant change.

“Multicultural associations and organizations alone can not bring sufficient parity to our industry,” Bernardo added. “Real change must come from within and it must start at the top levels of the industry and Corporate America.”

HPRA members were among the participants in the on-line survey conducted in October 2004 and spearheaded by Lynn Appelbaum, APR, Associate Professor, Chair, Department of Media & Communication Arts at The City College of New York, and Rochelle Ford, Ph.D., APR, Assistant Professor, Advertising and PR Sequence Coordinator, Howard University.

For more than 20 years, HPRA has supported Hispanic professionals through professional development opportunities, workshops, providing recognition to Hispanic leaders in the industry, and awarding scholarships to Hispanic Communications students each year.

The study can be obtained at http://www.ccny.cuny.edu/prsurvey.