Agency layoffs show no signs of diminishing, as the PR industry's
hi-tech hangover continues. But while these corrective measures are
nothing to be ashamed of, there has to be some concern about the
development of the next PR generation. Because it's just not
As executive recruitment firms attest (see 'PR powerbrokers,' p. 16),
the industry keeps hiring senior staff for key positions. But it's
increasingly evident that recruitment of entry-level staff has been
frozen at many firms, with the focus now on experience, and agencies
looking to redeploy resources.
While that 'last in, first out' policy is understandable, there has to
be some concern about the long-term impact of an entry-level recruitment
With junior-level corporate PR positions increasingly scarce, it has
become incumbent upon the agencies to develop the next generation of PR
experts. But few agencies have pockets deep enough (or alternatively,
parent companies indulgent enough) to support personal development of
entry-level staff when there's no work out there.
The question that agencies need to ask, however, is what happens when
the economy picks up? Unfortunately, in the present scenario, PR firms
(as well as corporate PR teams) will not be ready with properly-trained
staff to meet the demand, in an exact repetition of the last economic
The PRWeek/Text 100 Salary Survey showed (PRWeek, March 26) only 56% of
junior-level staff are committed to a career in PR. If the industry
thinks it can just sweep up talent when the economy picks up, it will
get what it deserves: trash.