NEW YORK: As the agency staffing crunch nears epidemic levels, industry groups are readying a three-pronged effort to recruit mid-career executives from other professions.
NEW YORK: As the agency staffing crunch nears epidemic levels,
industry groups are readying a three-pronged effort to recruit
mid-career executives from other professions.
A loose-knit group of Chicago agencies, working with the Council of
Public Relations Firms, is devising a plan to reach people in the
healthcare, hi-tech and general management ranks. The council has also
created a personality assessment test to judge whether potential
candidates would make good PR pros, while the PRSA’s Counselors Academy
is creating a five-hour online training program for new recruits to the
The efforts are designed not only to attract more people to PR, but to
attract people who can handle the increasingly complex nature of the
business, according to CPRF prexy Jack Bergen. ’The industry needs
different kinds of people,’ he said. Added Lynn Casey, chair-elect of
the Counselors Academy, ’We have to look beyond the traditional PR arena
for new talent.’
In Chicago, an informal group of firms - dubbed the ’Chow and Gab
Society’ - have been meeting regularly to discuss management issues.
Wanting to address the staffing crisis, the group invited Bergen to
assist in developing a plan to find top outside-the-profession
candidates, according to HLB Communications president and group member
The group hopes to have its plans ready in June and will share them with
the council and firms across the country. Bergen said the council is
investing dollars 15,000 in developing the training program and could
spend in the neighborhood of dollars 30,000 to host recruitment meetings
for potential new hires.
In January, the council hired a San Francisco company, Empowerment
Concepts, to construct an assessment test to determine whether would-be
pros have the necessary qualities to succeed in PR. The council plans to
make the test, designed by analyzing high achievers in the business,
available to its member firms on CD-ROM for dollars 125 per test, Bergen
said. The money will go to Empowerment Concepts, which developed the
assessment for free in expectation of future fees.
’We’re really going to encourage the industry to use it,’ Bergen
Casey hopes to have the counselor academy’s online training program,
which will likely cover industry basics, up and running by the fall.
’It’s designed to quickly acclimate a mid-level hire with a
non-traditional background to agency life,’ she explained.