Once-in-a-generation opportunity to take the lead as a profession

There has never been a more exciting or challenging time to work in the PR business.

Stephen Waddington: CIPR president; digital and social media director, Ketchum Europe
Stephen Waddington: CIPR president; digital and social media director, Ketchum Europe

PR is shifting beyond publicity. It’s shifting beyond comms and is becoming part of every operational area of an organisation, from customer services to sales, and from human resources to marketing.

It is being recognised as a management discipline at the highest levels within an organisation. We have an opportunity to become the ears, eyes, mouth and conscience of every modern organisation, balancing organisational interests with those of the public.

Positive data to support this thesis is easy to come by.

According to Labour leader Ed Miliband’s recent Digital Skills for Tomorrow’s World report, more than seven billion people will be connected to the internet globally by 2020. That level of connectivity will bring an unprecedented demand for digitally skilled professionals.

At a micro level the mobile operator O2 has estimated that 745,000 additional workers with digital skills will be needed to meet demand from employers until 2017.

As pioneers in the digital era, PR practitioners are perfectly placed to capitalise on the emerging opportunities. My view is that we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to take the lead among other professional disciplines.

It is little surprise the Institute for Public Policy Research ranked PR fourth in the list of top occupations for 2022. Its report also predicted a million new jobs in the next ten years for the business, media and public service professions.

This growth demands new skills. If we are to realise our ambition, we need a skilled, qualified, diverse and highly professional workforce. We must fulfil our opportunity to become a professional management discipline. But we’ve work to do.

If this is the industry you want to work in then it’s time for you to consider your own skills by committing to continuing professional development and signing up to our code of conduct.

It’s a challenge that demands unwavering commitment and one that I urge you to join.

Stephen Waddington is CIPR president; digital and social media director, Ketchum Europe

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