Is PR a young person's game? At just the wrong side of 35, I prefer to think not

Is PR a youngsters' game? It's a question that plays on my mind - especially since becoming a mum.

Is PR a young person's game or is there room for people with experience?
Is PR a young person's game or is there room for people with experience?

Most of my ideas and insight used to come from being out and about after typical working hours, but these days I have to make the most of the nine to five. And honestly, I rely on the younger team to keep me up-to-date on what’s happening out there.

Do I miss it? Well yes, a little bit, sometimes.

Does it make me feel any less capable of doing my job? Absolutely not.

Because, for all of the martinis and margaritas that I might be missing out on, I have years (and years) of experience.

I’ve dealt with countless crisis situations, broken embargos, incredibly difficult clients (naming no names), ran events to challenge the calmest of souls and mentored many young PR hopefuls – some who made it, some who didn’t.

All that has to count for something.

Yet according to the PR Census 2016, the average age of those working in the industry is 28. Ouch.

So why is that?

It’s a well-aired notion that the world of PR can be a stressful one, and perhaps the younger crowd have simply got the energy required to hack it. Or maybe keeping up with the digital age is too much for some?

I’m not that old, but in my time on the PR beat, things have changed a lot.

It’s laughable to think that in my first job I literally cut coverage out of a magazine and mounted it using Pritt Stick.

Or could it be that becoming a parent has a bigger impact than simply reigning in the going out?

Our industry is dominated by women (64 per cent according to the aforementioned study), and at some point in their lives, many of them - myself included - take maternity leave and face the daunting prospect of coming back into what is an incredibly fast-paced career after a break.

It isn't easy, and then there’s the added challenge of juggling work with childcare and being a good parent.

But whatever the reason, I’m convinced the solid grounding in good old fashioned comms skills, before news stories were broken on Twitter and press trips were conducted by VR, will stand any older PR professionals in good stead.

That’s the story I’m sticking to as I prepare to leave the office for a few months and go headlong into sleepless nights and nappies for the second time.

I’m hoping that when I come out the other side, all that experience is still going to count.

Michelle Williams is associate director at Fleet Street Communications

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