I spent my weekend finally getting round to reading the CIPR State of the Profession 2017 report.
As a recent graduate and someone who is just beginning what will hopefully be a long career in public relations, I was interested in seeing how the industry is changing and how I might brush up on certain skills to try and stay ahead of the game.
Here are a few points that I found of particular interest:
- More time on strategic planning – whilst studying PR at university, a lot of focus was placed on theory and campaign planning. I think that with more and more practitioners looking to theory and strategy can only make the industry and practice stronger. It makes perfect sense that strategic planning should be a priority for professionals; it helps to improve campaigns and create communications strategies that are easier to measure, overall making for more effective comms. It’s certainly something that I can see huge value in and will also be prioritising too. I was also interested to see media relations high on the areas of practice list. You often hear that newspapers and traditional media are a dying trade and that digital is the way forward, which I agree with to an extent, but this shows that media relations, in whatever capacity this may be, is still high on the to-do list of many practitioners.
- Budget cuts and reduced fees – it’s disappointing to hear that budgets and fees are being cut for many. As someone starting out their career, I would be hoping for more businesses and organisations to be understanding the importance of PR and investing in it. Personally, I can see the increasing blurred lines between PR and related disciplines playing a part in this, as well as lower budgets and turnovers for companies, with PR, marketing and communications often the first to go.
- Is a degree necessary? – the report states that the number of recruiters demanding undergraduate degrees has fallen to 52%. As a recent graduate, it’s interesting to hear, as I believe my degree was invaluable in providing me with the skills, knowledge and the passion for the industry and I certainly wouldn’t have progressed anywhere in the industry without it. However, I can see where those without a PR degree can fit into the industry and with training, both ‘on-the-job’ and formal courses, a highly-effective PR professional can be made.
Reading the report was a real insight into the industry and has certainly given me a few pointers as to where the industry is headed and how I might need to adapt ways of working and learn new skills in order to progess and do high quality work.