Industry Leaders share thoughts on career and growth opportunities for PR professionals
A recently conducted Twitter Poll for PR professionals has brought to light a very pertinent issue that is being faced by the PR industry the talent conundrum. The poll has received over 250 responses out of which a whopping 50% of the professionals have responded stating that if given a choice, they would like to choose a career other than PR.
Various industry professions on Twitter were amused by this response and unanimously agreed that the budding talent should be mentored by the seniors and they should be guided about the evolving opportunities in the industry.
Sujit Patil, Vice President & Head – Corporate Communications, Godrej Group opined, “Talent shortage is prevalent in each and every function. However, in the PR industry, I would also blame many of the known PR agencies and some of the corporates too for dispiriting entry-level PR professionals. I mean, can you motivate a young qualified PR professional by paying her/him a starting salary significantly lesser than colleagues who have done the PG in Marketing, HR or Finance? Students from B-schools opine that they would rather choose a career in advertising or journalism over PR as either only PR agencies come for placement and pay dismal packages or the few corporates that come pick just a handful.”
Sharing another viewpoint, Tarunjeet Rattan, Partner at Nucleus PR, says, “The flaw in the system is ‘expectation setting’. We do this on a regular basis for all our clients. However, unfortunately, we have been unable to do this successfully for professionals entering the industry. Teachers, industry veterans, guest lecturers at colleges offering mass media courses need to set this expectation. Obviously, when they enter the industry they are met with disappointment which builds up over years and they want to quit.
Add to this, the industry is not for the faint-hearted and burn out rate can be quick if not adequately managed. The fast changing landscape of media and PR thereof also ensures that constant up-skilling is required which can get taxing for professionals who are not really cut out for the stream or are already resenting the profession for failing to meet their expectations.”
Jitendra Jha, Sr. VP at Adfactors PR opined, “There is a mismatch of expectations as most of the students who join the industry believe that it is very glamorous and exciting and success is fast but in reality, the burnout ratio is very high.”
Other professionals on WhatsApp group shared that young professional’s start finding their work monotonous especially if they are not willing to go beyond media relations and experiment with new tools.
PR industry is currently at its tipping point where the communications landscape is rapidly evolving with the rise of digital media and as reputation management consultant’s professionals need to upskill themselves and also unlearn to learn new learnings.
Tarunjeet agrees with the evolving communications landscape and believes that “This is the time for PR professionals to innovate and get creative and clients are more than willing to experiment and accept the changing role of PR. Reaffirming the above, she insists that this is the time for us to redefine our roles. I believe we are moving into the role of ‘communication consultants’ where apart from traditional PR you are required to oversee and provide strategic counsel on digital, social, events, influencer, and advertising campaigns as well. Time for us to move up and get that coveted seat on the head table.”
Coming back to bridging the talent gap in the PR industry, it is imperative that the senior leaders in the fraternity share their experiences and guide the budding professionals to develop the right attitude and aptitude to thrive in the industry.
Concurring with this thought, Rahul Rakesh, a senior PR professional says, “Youngsters have terrific energy and enthusiasm to do and do it like now. However, they show reluctance to learn and grow, they have the ‘know it all’ attitude. While the PR profession is like one that requires one to be Jack of all trades and master of all, the profession provides youngsters vast boundaries of constant learning.”
Sujit believes that the industry is evolving and the onus is on each and every senior PR practitioner worth his/her salt to be a true advocate of the trade. Also, thrust should be given to updating the outdated curriculum from
B-schools that offer degrees in corporate communications and PR that would significantly help to make education relevant to industry requirement.
Anugya Sinha, Consulting Associate, PPR, South Asia, shares an important point to tap the budding PR practitioner’s right at the beginning, “Seniors should make them see value in every task, even if it is a simple task such as tracking newspaper or making a coverage report. They should become aware of the rationale of doing a particular task and how it will impact the client’s reputation and learning for themselves.”
PR industry is evolving and has various avenues to grow, an individual can explore niche career opportunities. Tarunjeet shares her #PRO Tip: Explore career opportunities in content writing, blogger and influencer engagement or strategic counseling.
On the other side, Sujit Patil who made his career shift from being an engineer to marketing communications and finally cherry-picked PR and corporate communication as a profession urges PR professionals to rock it in their chosen field. He shares, the role of PR has evolved majorly and its width of impact areas in an organization has grown significantly. He feels that serious corporates now see PR as a strategic partner rather than just a good to have function!
PRO Tip#: Stick around and be a part of its blooming phase!
Let’s welcome 2018 by providing holistic training and grooming opportunities for the young professionals and motivate them to choose PR as a career.