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Toxic Elitism. The Ugly Truth About PR

PR Industry: Anti-Working-Class* the Ugly Truth Revealed


I feel sad.

We have compelling evidence that class discrimination and a damaging snob-culture is endemic in the UK PR sector.

Developing our business relaunch strategy, we engaged in market research with creative communities in Liverpool and London.


The consistency of stories and lived experiences of people who identify as ‘working-class’* creatives were impossible to miss. Verbatim revealed multiple barriers to accessing good PR - and ultimately, fulfillment, rightful remuneration and recognition of fantastic talent.

The same ugly words cropped up in both the North and the South of England.

PR is full of “elitist“ attitudes, cliquey “jargon”, and has a cost barrier meaning professional services are “completely out of reach” for many.

According to a 2018 study, the percentage of people working in PR, with working-class backgrounds was given as 12.6%. In film, TV and radio it was 12.4%, and in music, performing and visual arts, 18.2%. “Aside from crafts, no creative occupation comes close to having a third of its workforce from working-class origins, which is the average for the population as a whole,” the report said.

David Loumgair, Creative Director of COMMON said he “could spend hours listing the challenges, which would make a pretty depressing read”.

We need to ask ourselves… is it right that only the Ed Sheeran and James Blunts of this world seem to get that “lucky“ break?

This is cultural oppression, discrimination…. and mass censorship... plain (and simple?).

Liverpool - my home town - full of gifted kids who bravely dare to write, to play, to sing, to paint. Boldly raging against the machine; ripping an exit door through the status quo.

Working in the music industry, for years, I noticed a recurring narrative; fresh faced optimism, new kids on the block from Speke, Bootle, Birkenhead. Proper talent, doing the rounds, getting a name.

And then the money ran out.

Defeated, resigned to minimum wage in a warehouse while their creative gift slips through the cracks… along with their youth and last tenner.

So, what are we all going to do about it?

GLOW’s 3 year business plan is underpinned by our values of inclusivity, and actively seeking opportunities to level the PR playing field.

Our values are clearly defined, collaborative and transparent, shaping every decision we make as a business.

We pledge to donate a monthly percentage of our working hours to provide free and heavily reduced PR support for marginalised and undervalued people of the UK. It’s a broad statement but underpinned by measurable indicators to check how we are doing.

We are now looking to our peers and asking… what can you do?

Let’s form a proper PR Collaborative. I open my inbox to you all!

Get in touch and get on board

I will leave you with a taster of our business plan
Our values are the drumbeat of our business. We choose to prioritise clients with unpredictable budgets by offering flexi-rates and payment plans. We especially love working with creatives, start-ups and not-for-profits!
GLOW makes great PR accessible to all, regardless of brand, budget or background
We aim to level the PR playing field. Not only are we super accessible, but we pride ourselves on offering jargon-free support. Our policy is to assume our clients have no prior knowledge of PR practices, unless we are told otherwise.
But there is always room to improve! Tell us if we can make any changes for the better.
*we don’t like this term. Ask us why, if you like!

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