New #StateofPR research finds a growing industry stunted by skills shortage

The public relations industry is struggling to meet an increase in demand as vacancies remain unfilled due to low numbers of skilled applicants and a resulting fierce battle for existing talent, according to a new report from the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR).

The ‘State of the Profession’ report finds a PR industry in a period of expansion with an increasingly growing reputation. More than half of those in recruiting positions, however, say they are struggling to recruit, including 78% of those working to recruit in agencies and consultancies. The low number of applicants with the required skills is cited as the number one reason.

The most immediate impact of this is the increased workload on the existing workforce. Over half of practitioners say they are working more hours than they are paid with the biggest challenge facing the profession identified as the mental health of practitioners.

The report also finds;

  • Practitioners overwhelmingly point to good team and colleague relationships as what they enjoy most about their work but cite limited potential for promotion or advancement. 
  • At every level of seniority and within every organisation type, practitioners are more likely to say their relationship with their employer has improved rather than deteriorated. 
  • For the fourth year running, copywriting and editing is identified as the most commonly undertaken activity. 

This report highlights that the reputational gains experienced during the pandemic have continued with rapid growth indicative of a thriving industry. But we know better than anyone how fragile this can be and we must not fall into the trap that short-term growth equates to long-term success.

Instead, there is a real risk that we will be unable to consolidate the gains we have made if we fail to address the challenges presented in this report. That means growing teams with a clear training and development offer to ensure they are not overworked, to ensure when positions become available we have a pool of talented applicants to choose from, to ensure we make our businesses sustainable and profitable, and to ensure we have the right people with the right skills to meet the needs of business and society in the future.

CIPR President Rachel Roberts Chart.PR, MCIPR

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