I’ve never imagined that problem of hiring new talents is one of the TOP-three problems for PR industry worldwide. The World PR Report 2016 by PRWeek and ICCO reveals that optimism about talent rates only 5.6 at the Global level, with highest scores for the United Kingdom (7.0) and North America (6.8). These statistics surprised me even more when I read, where the agencies source their talents: 82% try to entice the employees of the rival agencies while only 61% look for recent graduates with professional PR educations. The rates for drawing talents from the other industries also relatively high – more than half agencies attract journalists to work for them and almost a third looks for people with advertising and marketing background.
The logic of seeking for people with different backgrounds is clear: the lines between PR, marketing, advertising and even journalism in traditional sense blur, so PR agencies tend to hire people with relevant to current situation skills.
“With the continued disruption of the media industry and the knock-on effect on traditional advertising, the door is open to us to tale to clients transformational talent and thinking, not traditionally associated with PR”, explains Colin Byrne, the CEO of Weber Shandwick in UK and EMEA (World PR Report 2016).
The other point mentioned by leading world agencies is the difficulty to hire people with diverse backgrounds, the latter is considered the key to gaining the insights and success in strategic planning. Pascal Beucler from MSLGROUP marks the new trend in the industry: the clients, especially big global companies, are tired from working with dozens of different networks, providing different services at various markets for them (World PR Report 2016). Such companies need one team with diverse backgrounds and skillsets but lead by one person, so it’s easier for them to co-operate with this team. The diversity is the key factor in attracting new clients, points out Francis Ingham, Chief Executive of ICCO (World PR Report 2016).
Among the reasons, why sourcing PR from outside is so difficult, the industry representatives name salary expectations (57%), lack of transferable skills (54%) and lack of interest (39%), and I suppose the latter to be an alarming sign. If the industry seems dull and unpromising, the highest salary will never attract the real talent. Stacey Neighbour, from Ketchum, London, says that “job seekers want to tick more boxes” and look not only for salaries and promotion when changing the job, but also aim to have interesting tasks and opportunities for development (Delpero, 2014). This attitude is trending not only in PR but across all industries as the new generation of Millenials becomes the major part of employees (Moore, 2014).
The main aim of PR industry now is to engage with future employees and PR itself to attract their attention and make them interested. The opinion from recent employee reveals the sad truth: many talents do not consider PR as a possible career choice as they feel the industry as non-prestigious and have only a brief idea of what the PR professionals do with PR images in popular media, like series and movies (Clarke, 2017). Companies should start to change this, the industry need to raise awareness about itself!
“Every player in it should be actively promoting the attributes of PR as a smart career choice as broadly as possible. The future belongs to agencies that grow a talent trove from the inside and out”, states Lynne Anne Davis from FleishmanHillard (World PR Report 2016), and it is in due course.
The statistics about employment should sober the industry, but for me, as for the future graduate and a comer from the journalistic background, it sounds optimistic and gives hope to finding the nice place for my career ambitions.
Claudia Delpero (2014). The new war for talent/ why PR agencies find some roles hard to fill. PR Week. Available from http://www.prweek.com/article/1302796/new-war-talent-why-pr-agencies-finding-roles-hard-fill.
Karl Moore (2014). Millennials Work For Purpose, Not Paycheck. Forbes.com. Available from https://www.forbes.com/sites/karlmoore/2014/10/02/millennials-work-for-purpose-not-paycheck/#47d17ffa6a51.
PR Week & ICCO. World PR Report 2016. Available from http://www.iccopr.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/ICCO_PRWeek-World-PR-Report-2016-1.pdf.
Siena Clarke (2017). Students Don’t Know Most PR Disciplines Exist: Siena Clarke. PRcareers.co.uk. Available from http://prcareers.co.uk/students-dont-know-pr-disciplines-exist-siena-clarke/.