OPINION: Short-term thinking hurts PR profession

The results of the Public Relations Consultants Association (PRCA) survey - reported this week on PRWeek.com - that 80 per cent of the industry's bright young things plan to leave PR in less than a decade are pretty astounding.

Moreover, the fact almost half of those junior executives polled only see themselves remaining in PR ‘for the next two to five years’ should seriously concern anyone interested in the status of the profession and people’s motivations for working within it.

The impression the findings create (many would say cement) is of an industry flush with ephemeral thinkers.

Quite simply, the fact so many young people plan to jack in their PR job for a different profession positions work in this industry as having more in common with, say, seasonal travel repping than heavyweight careers such as accountancy, business consultancy or the law.

The CIPR’s chartered status and the PRCA’s own Consultancy Management Standard are, of course, among the welcome developments in recent years as the PR sector strives for greater credibility and respect.

But if this poll reflects the entire PR profession (only those working in consultancies were polled) then it is surely a blow to those striving to build the reputation of the industry as a heavyweight career choice.

After all, what does it really say for the industry that so many juniors plan to quit? It is difficult to imagine 80 per cent of youngsters in most other serious lines of business saying they imagine leaving their profession entirely within the next decade.

It is true that short-term thinking is increasingly rife across society and that many people nowadays flit between careers several times before they are even 30.

But nonetheless the PRCA figures are likely to cause those with a team full of youngsters to question their employees’ commitment to both their career and the industry at large.

Danny Rogers is on holiday.

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