PR: one of the fastest-growing women-dominated industries
PR is not just one of the nation’s fastest-growing fields; it is also one of the most competitive ones. With social media on the rise, this has only helped the industry grow even further. Although some of the first PR-related jobs were held by white men, that is not the case anymore. PR is now considered a female-led industry, which means that most of the jobs in the field are held by women.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, women make up 64% of U.S. public relations specialists and 71% of PR and fundraising managers. “My company is mostly women,” said Armando Sepulveda II, Account Coordinator at Southwest Strategies, a PR firm in San Diego. Even though this large number of women was surprising to see for Sepulveda, he feels “like it provides a refreshing take on the office.” Since he was always used to working in a male-dominated industry, it was a big shift coming into the PR industry for him. “My immediate boss is male, but my boss that is superior is female,” he added. Sepulveda’s experience suggests that women are also holding positions of power.
On the other hand, a piece that was published by The Atlantic argues that “it’s all women out there. And the two people running it are dudes.” This perspective suggests that the staff positions are held by women, while the manager positions are usually held by men. The Holmes Report found that although men represent 30% of the PR workforce, 70% of agency executives are men.
The lack of racial diversity is another issue faced by the PR industry. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 85% of PR practitioners in the United States are White American. This is a very high percentage if we consider that racial and ethnic minorities make up approximately 40% of the population.
“My first boss at my agency was an Asian woman, which made it easier to just focus on the work since PR is filled with white women, and in my first agency, it was a very white-dominated office,” said a female PR practitioner who works for a big agency located in New York City. This comment highlights the importance of having other people around you at work that share your racial or social identity.
The lack of diversity has been an issue in the PR field for a long time. Fortunately, the industry has begun to address this issue during the past few years and a higher number of women have taken leadership positions. However, more needs to be done to embrace female leadership and offer a workplace reality that encourages diversity of experience and promotes fair pay and benefits.
By Rocio Rodriguez
Rocio is a fourth-year student at San Diego State University, majoring in Journalism with an emphasis in Public Relations and a minor in Television. Film & New Media. She plans to graduate in December 2022 and pursue a career in the entertainment or music industry.