Boredom has a compelling impact on the PR job market

In the past two or three years, much of the discussion about the job market has centered on how employment has been affected by the struggling economy.

In the past two or three years, much of the discussion about the job market has centered on how employment has been affected by the struggling economy. Downsizing and hiring freezes have been a devastating trend, especially in 2009, but as companies saw business picking up and bottom lines recovering in the latter part of 2010 and into 2011, opportunities for employment began to open up again. That optimism is reflected in the 2011 PRWeek/Bloom, Gross & Associates Salary Survey).

"Downsizing" and "hiring freeze" make for compelling headlines, but those words reflect what will hopefully be a receding trend in employment. A closer look at the numbers provided by the last few years of our survey shows a bigger, more chronic issue affecting employment in the PR industry - and it's not a word that makes for a sexy headline - it's boredom.

At the height of economic woes, 27% of respondents in the 2010 survey said they had changed employers in the past 12 months due to downsizing. Twenty-seven percent is a big number, but not as big as the 31% who said they left their job because they needed new challenges or had become bored or dissatisfied.

This year's results should set off a red flag in HR departments across firms and corporations. With the economy's effect abating, only 7% of employees left because of downsizing, whereas 44% cite a need for new challenges and boredom as the reason for changing. In fact, throughout our survey's past six years, the need for new challenges has far outweighed any other reason for leaving a job.

How often do managers pin the loss of an employee on someone getting more money or a better title? That's not the reality. In the last six years a promotion or salary increase has never outweighed the need for employees to find new challenges at a new employer.

And that begs the question: why can't they find new challenges at current employers? With new business coming in, there must be an opportunity to look at current staffers and make changes that reward them, especially those who have been loyal during tough times.

Almost one out of every three people in PR is looking for a new job right now. And as your company enters planning mode for the anticipated upswing in new business, weigh the impact that one-in- three number will have on productivity, morale, and the bottom line.


Bernadette Casey is the senior editor of PRWeek. She can be contacted at bernadette.casey@prweek.com.

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