PRWeek TV: Comms directors must 'broaden skillset' in fight for place at the top

Comms directors will have to widen their skillset if they want to get a seat at the top table, PROs have claimed.

In this week’s PRWeek TV CIPR CEO and former in-house comms head Jane Wilson claimed that a place on the executive committee had to be earned, not expected.

Her words come as PRWeek revealed that of the FTSE 100 companies, 76 per cent had a corporate affairs director, and of these only 46 per cent were on the committee.

Wilson said she expected these figures to improve, but added: ‘Comms directors will have to broaden their skillset. They will have to understand not just the words but the numbers too.’

Guy Bellamy, MD of Elephant Communications, added that those in the industry would have to ‘fight’ for a place if they wanted it.

The research was conducted by headhunters Watson Helsby and sampled 93 of the 100 FTSE companies.

It also noted that it was ‘extremely unusual’ for top communicators to sit on the board of these companies.

Bellamy said that it was often evident when companies did not have corporate comms at the heart of their operation because of a ‘mismatch’ between 'PR objectives and business objectives'.

He added that in today’s tough times what customers valued most was ‘authenticity and engagement’ rather than a simple sales tool'.

Meanwhile, Wilson noted a change in which reputation was now 'not what you put out - that’s your image - reputation is what you get back at you'.

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