IP Inclusive - We’re taking steps to widen our intake
Andrea Brewster needs your help to increase diversity in our profession.
A lament I often hear from IP sector recruiters is that, as much as they would like to employ a more diverse workforce, they simply don’t have the right starting materials. So why are so few people from underrepresented groups seeking entry into the IP professions?
First, I think, not enough people know we’re here. Many potential recruits have not even heard of IP, much less the career opportunities it provides. That means our intake is limited to people whose friends or relatives already work in IP, or those who attend schools or universities that already have the requisite links.
Second, those who do find us may be discouraged by what they see. The IP professions still don’t look very diverse. A BAME person or a disabled person, for instance, might well conclude that our world is not for them.
IP Inclusive’s Careers in Ideas campaign is tackling the first issue by raising awareness of IP-related careers. Its website (careersinideas.org.uk) showcases a range of roles, including Trade Mark Attorneys and Paralegals, with information about entry requirements and career development, as well as personal stories from those in the sector.
It promotes opportunities such as entry-level vacancies, work experience events and internships. There are also free-to-download resources, including an information booklet, a poster, a presentation and a “career pathways map”, which we’ll be updating later this year.
These resources are aimed at students, teachers and careers advisers, but they’re also useful for IP professionals who offer careers talks and outreach activities. Given the current lack of awareness of our sector, getting the message out there is going to prove a massive job. We need as many IP professionals as possible to help us spread the word, in particular among underrepresented groups such as BAME people, disabled people, women in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and students from underprivileged backgrounds. And we need to develop relationships with the external organisations (educational establishments, careers initiatives and charities, for example) that know our target audience.
Of course, Careers in Ideas is only part of the recipe for wider access. Inclusivity further downstream is also crucial. There is no point bringing in more “diverse” recruits if we don’t make them feel at home when they arrive. IP Inclusive still has work to do on that front.
A healthy profession needs a diverse range of perspectives if it’s to remain credible, relevant and successful. It also needs intelligent, multi-talented individuals, and we are currently struggling to recruit as many as we need. We must attract a wider intake. And once they’re here, we must provide inclusive workplaces to keep them happy, healthy, productive and loyal.
To get involved with the Careers in Ideas campaign, please contact [email protected]
Also look out for our Careers in Ideas Week from 16th-22nd November 2020, featuring a range of outreach activities from IP Inclusive supporters.
More CITMA Review features:
Lee Curtis reflects on the questions raised by the attempted registration of a high-born brand.
Support for diversity and inclusion or simply opportunistic “rainbow-washing”? What does the adoption of the rainbow mean for the credibility of an iconic symbol?
Kate Swaine defines the scope of employee ownership when it comes to IP.
Wondering what EU harmonisation means for Italy’s trade mark owners? Paola Gelato breaks down three important changes.