Millennials in PR cite 'lack of role models' and dissatisfaction after two years

A study has revealed that young people entering the PR industry tend to become critical of their employers after two years in a job as they want their careers to progress quickly, but are concerned about a "lack of role models in senior positions".

(Image via Rowan Farrell / ITU Pictures; used under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license. Cropped from original)
(Image via Rowan Farrell / ITU Pictures; used under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license. Cropped from original)

Jackie Smyth, a partner at creative coaching business The Fairlight Project, carried out interviews with 12 young PR professionals for the study, Millennials in PR and Comms. It was undertaken with support from the Taylor Bennett Foundation – a London charity that aims to increase ethnic diversity in PR.

Respondents were most happy with their job and employers after their probationary period, with people enjoying the social side of the industry and its "work hard, play hard" culture. 

However around the two-year mark, respondents tended to be more critical, blaming a lack of transparency and structured management leaving them feeling undervalued and uninformed.

Smyth wrote: "Comments like, 'I’m feeling a lack of support for my career development' and 'there’s a lack of role models in senior positions' were typical of the kind of response to the post-honeymoon period."

One respondent told managers: "Communicate and show appreciation – lots of it. People will do anything if they know they’re valued."

Other concerns reported about life in PR were:

  • "How little you are briefed – you’re expected just to get on with it"
  • "Unrealistic workloads leading to late and sleepless nights"
  • "Pressure that leads to things being rushed"
  • Unpredictability of the workloads, which is [incongruous] for an industry that prides itself on planning"

In terms of incentives, respondents said that smaller, short-term rewards would be more motivating than long-term, formal incentive schemes. The study advised employers to implement a new set of indicators, training and incentives at the two-year mark, if they want to keep their young recruits engaged.

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