ANALYSIS: BIG QUESTION; Is PR an ageist profession?

Ken Allsopp Affinity Consulting

Ken Allsopp Affinity Consulting



‘The real question is why do most people only hire practitioners that

are younger than they are? I believe its a question of confidence. They

may see this person as more experienced and therefore a threat to them.

But there is only so much experience you can have at 22 and no evidence

that creativity gets less as you get older. I’ve had top agencies tell

me they are only looking for young, dynamic under-35- year-olds. It’s

like saying you want consultants before they have trained as doctors.’



Peter Childs Peter Childs Associates



‘Yes, there is a perception that youthful energy equates to effective

genius. I think in a lot of industries people get to a plateau and move

sideways but it happens twice as early in PR. It’s sad, especially since

a depressing number of people who create these prejudices are that

certain age themselves. Older practitioners may not be quicker over 100

yards but their volume of experience is never going to let you down.’



Lorna Fitzsimon IPR Young Communicator of the Year



‘I don’t think the PR profession is ageist because there is a mixture of

older, experienced over-45 players and up and coming younger people. PR

is a good profession as it mixes this energy and enthusiasm with the

contacts of the more mature types. Headhunters may have a point by not

considering older candidates for middle ranking positions as people

would question why they haven’t made it but most senior positions are

still given to older people as they carry weight in the boardroom. There

is still a glass ceiling in terms of younger people getting into the

boardroom.’



Janet Hurton Janet Hurton



‘I have never had any problem with being female or with my age. I have

actually found that as you get older people respond to you with more

interest, perhaps because they feel you have been around for a while and

so must be more streetwise. I’m 63 in July and shall probably retire at

the end of the year: but that’s because I want to get out while I’m on

top and because I want more time to play.’



Ron Kirby The Engineering Council



‘No, I see bright young operators working alongside much older

practitioners - but both doing a good job. I believe the blend of youth

and vigour with age and experience can bring great benefits for any

organisation. Younger PR people can gain so much knowledge on a fast

learning curve by working with those who have ‘been there and bought the

T-shirt’ on so many projects.’



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