Nowadays some companies are using Public Relations (PR) as one of the biggest tools in their marketing plans. The budget allocated to PR plans is increasing and it is important that companies hire highly skilled people to help building its reputation.
Building the immaterial assets for a company is not a simple task, it requires certain skills like being empathetic, having the ability to multi task and having emotional intelligence. Hiring PR practitioners with a degree or master’s degree in the subject can steepen the employee’s learning curve and therefore get positive results faster as they will have more knowledge and experience in the field.
But… how to attract and retain the best talent?
According to a survey conducted in March 2014 aimed at students (undergraduates and postgraduates) enrolled to PR courses in Leeds Metropolitan University (Now Leeds Beckett University), the majority being female, with an average age of 23, these were the findings:
Surprisingly, a good salary is not what graduates and postgraduates are looking for in the first place when finding a job. The most important issue for them is that the company has new and challenging projects constantly, with financial concerns an afterthought.
PR practitioners are known to be creative, and it was shown during the research, as the next most important things for them were to work for a company that promotes creativity, having a friendly working environment and getting opportunities to travel.
The least important benefits that they look for in a company are holiday entitlement, a good retirement plan and health insurance, probably due to the age of the survey’s participants.
It is also important to look for talent in the right places. 44% percent of the students would look for a PR job directly in company or consultancy websites. 22% would do it through social media like Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn, and the rest (26%) would look in newspapers, graduate magazines and university fairs.
According to PRCA (2011), Successful PR agencies understand their clients’ and stakeholders’ needs. This means that it is important to hire PR practitioners according to their clients, ensuring that they match and are likely to form a healthy and long term relationship.
On the other hand, Danny Moss, Professor of MA Corporate & Public Affairs said that a new generation of better educated practitioners are assuming positions of authority and bringing a greater understanding of the potential of PR into the boardroom. I think this will only be possible if all companies open their doors to new and specialised talent, and pay a reasonable salary for them to be able to commute or live close to their workplace.