Qualified For The Job: Education & Upskilling In The PR Sector

The recent survey, PRII Census 2019, carried out by Amárach Research contained some interesting findings on the educational profile of the profession. In a nutshell, entry level educational standards are at an all-time high and there is evidence of both ‘push’ by employers and the demands of the job and ‘pull’ from ambitious individuals and teams towards ongoing training and upskilling. Here is the data to underpin that claim:

  • 82% have an educational qualification related to their work in communications.
  • 34% of those working in agencies hold a Masters in PR or similiar. For those in-house in the private sector it’s 27% and in the public sector it’s 18%.

In addition to their undergraduate and post-graduate level qualifications, 25% of those working in agency, 25% of those working in-house (public sector), and 24% of those working in-house (private sector) hold the practice focused PRII Diploma in Public Relations.

The necessity and desire for practice-related training such as the PRII Certificates, Workshops and Diploma is evidenced by 53% of the respondents having spent time on PR-related training and continuous professional development (CPD) in the past year.

Employees of independently owned agencies and those in-house in the private sector tend to spend more time on CPD. Those working in-house in the private sector spent over 22 hours on PR training in 2018 closely followed at 20 hours by those in independent agencies. This drops to 18 hours for in-house public sector and 17 hours for employees of international agencies.

  • 23% attended PRII briefings of one to two hours duration on a range of topics including GDPR and measurement, while 11% attended full or half day workshops on, for example, impactful writing, video storytelling, and measurement and evaluation.

For 79% of respondents the employer paid for this training and in the case of another 10% the training was paid for by employer and employee together. 11% paid for the training themselves.

The need for career-long learning is well-established with 78% saying they would like to do more training. Time pressure was the most commonly identified barrier.

Speaking at the launch of the research last week, Dr Martina Byrne, PRII CEO, said that the findings on education and ongoing training are very positive for the credibility and future of the profession but that there is no room for complacency.  In a fast moving environment and competitive market, time spent on training should be regarded not as lost or unproductive time but as an investment in improved service provision to clients and employers and as part of a structured programme of staff reward and retention.

The data from the PRII Census will be used to inform the content and design of the PRII CPD offer 2019/2020 more details of which will be revealed in September.

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