Diversity in the PR workplace: a catalyst for change

Caliber’s PR team talk to CEO Rav Singh about the importance of diverse companies

by Anna Michna and Chris Nunn

Nearly a year has passed since the release of the 2017 McGregor-Smith Review, which examines diversity in the UK workplace. In light of the report, Caliber’s PR team sat down for a chat with company CEO, Rav Singh, to shed some light on the topic of diversity in the PR and communications industries.

Diversity opens people’s minds and ways of thinking. Talents, especially in creative industries, should come from all walks of life.

Rav comes from an ethnic minority background himself, and knows what it’s like to experience a home culture totally different to that at school, college or university. Throughout his 30 years in business, promoting diversity in the workplace has always been an issue close to his heart.

We caught up with Rav to talk everything from the glass ceiling to Brexit, along with the overriding importance of a diverse workplace…

Why is it essential to have a diverse workforce?

“I believe that that diversity opens people’s minds and ways of thinking. Talents, especially in creative industries, should come from all walks of life. When you blend together a range of backgrounds, you get a better result internally, as well as externally for clients.”

How do you think Brexit will impact on diversity?

“Brexit could have a huge impact. If the talent pool flows out of the UK, then this is a major concern for businesses nationwide. When Eastern European countries joined the EU, there was a massive exodus of people from Eastern into Western Europe. People came to the UK for the possibility of work here and to learn best practices in different organisations which they wouldn’t have had access to previously.

“This caused enormous challenges for business in that region. Western Europe was a beneficiary that time, so now it feels like a reverse of fortunes. Now, people can (and will) take their expertise back to their home countries, which gives EU member states a competitive advantage in a global context.”

What effect do you think diversity has had on the digital communications industry?

“Digital communications as an industry has benefited from a diverse thinking approach, cultural differences and particular nuances of doing business. It should be the overall catalyst for embracing diversity, allowing people to challenge ideas and bring new dimensions to the conversation.

“A company consisting of people from the same social background and who speak the same makes for a one-way demographic and one-dimensional thinking. This means companies miss out on bringing new angles to the conversation — something that diversity leads to.

When my previous bosses were thinking about promotions, I made sure I was always considered and because of that I’ve managed to break every glass ceiling I’ve encountered in my career.

“One of the things I love most about Caliber is the level of diversity throughout the company. When I first joined the business and went through the interview process, I was unaware of it, but it turned out to be well and truly ingrained in the company culture already.

“I was based in Eastern Europe for ten years, during which I worked with 18 different nationalities . We all mixed, sang our national songs and shared our cultures with one other. So, to have something similar here, with range of nationalities and backgrounds in the office, is a wonderful thing.”

What’s your advice to people from ethnic minorities who want to work in digital communications?

“Make yourself the obvious choice. When my previous bosses were thinking about promotions, I made sure I was always considered and because of that I’ve managed to break every glass ceiling I’ve encountered in my career.

“I’m an ambassador for the Taylor Bennett Foundation, a mentoring and training program which I’m very passionate about. It gives a platform and opportunities to students in a space normally dominated by a particular demographic.

“I invited the students to the Caliber office, told them the story of my career and how the colour of my skin has never once got in the way. My advice to them was — don’t take anything for granted. Work twice as hard, prove yourself every day and you’re only going to be judged on what you did yesterday.”

Until next time, Rav…

See how Caliber’s diversity has impacted the work we do, helping unite the best people to solve complex digital challenges.