Pandemic Increases Pressure for Black Communications Professionals to Out-Perform, Study Finds

Covid Study

A new study by Media Frenzy Global (MFG) and the Black Public Relations Society of Atlanta compiled the challenges and pain points for Black communications professionals posed by COVID-19. COVID-19's Impact on Black Communications Professionals includes responses from more than 200 Black public relations employees in agency, corporate and independent environments, from across the U.S., including Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. 

According to the study, more than 52 percent of respondents said they felt more pressure to perform at a higher level than their white counterparts during the pandemic. Much of this has to do with organizational shifts brought on by the virus, as well as heightened social justice tensions. 

In addition, almost 72 percent said they felt stressors from the surrounding community impacted their personal job performance. This may be due to heightened anxiety, which 76 percent of responders said they experienced an increase in during the pandemic. Many believe this increase in anxiety yielded their own declines in productivity.  

"As black media professionals, we are constantly under pressure to perform at a higher level than anyone else," said Neil Foote, president of the National Black Public Relations Society. "Now, the COVID-19 pandemic only reveals that we are getting hit hard. This survey ... reveals the hard truths of this disruptive period, and how Black professionals must take the necessary precautions to stay healthy to manage the stress and get the help we need to be successful at our jobs."

In addition to COVID and Black Lives Matter movements, the Black community also had to struggle with a disproportionate level of unemployment. A recent report from Pew showed Black workers with Bachelor's degrees continuing to lose jobs in May 2020, even as the relaxing of coronavirus restrictions led to job gains for white professionals.

"COVID-19 has [had] a grave impact on the Black community, especially in the professional realm,” said Katie Kern, partner, Media Frenzy Global. "There is a clear need for data to be compartmentalized and addressed so that we can take the necessary steps to find and create resources to assist our most vulnerable communities," she added.

The complete findings from the survey can be found here.

Nicole Schuman is a reporter for PRNEWS. Follow her: @buffalogal