OPINION: PR should capitalise on recruitment boom

Our business is much in vogue as the chosen career of many of the brightest young talents graduating from the country’s leading established universities.

OPINION: PR should capitalise on recruitment boom

It has benefited from a switch over the past decade that has steered the career ambitions of media-obsessed undergraduates away from broadcast and print, and towards public relations.

Today, PR rather than journalism or advertising is increasingly seen as the real crucible of media influence. It is also perceived as offering a better lifestyle than other media careers.

This golden age of recruitment offers great opportunities for our businesses to benefit, both in the short and the long term. The industry, too, should derive long-term gain from the opportunity to rec­ruit from such a glittering pool of young and educated talent.

In the short term, there are the obvious benefits of being able to recruit in a graduate market in which the labour supply far outstrips the available employment ­opportunities. Without exploitation, it is feasible to employ one or more graduates of one of the top ten universities for a modest rate of not much more than a couple of hundred pounds a week apiece for up to six months. The deal is simple. The company gets the graduate’s capacity for hard work and original thought in return for the experience it imparts. After an initial period, the brightest graduate rec­ruits will be in a position to earn the salary the market dictates. Or to ­decide that it isn’t really the right career for them and to move on.

Given these market facts, I was astonished recently when one rec­ruitment agency offered me as an account executive a delightful young man who turned out to have graduated only a couple of months previously and whose CV comprised no more than holiday work experience placements. The going rate asked by the agent, inc­luding fees, was pro-rata £25,000 a year, which would, possibly, have made a football agent blush.

Avoiding any need to call in the agents, employers should take the opportunity to recruit graduates from more modern institutions such as Bournemouth University that annually turn out sharp young professionals whose focus and training make them great recruits. They are worth picking up early and are worthy of the very best. Recruitment is the lifeblood of any industry. PR is in the enviable position of ­being up there with the great professions and businesses as the chosen vocation of the brightest and the best. It should capitalise in the short term and do all that it can to ensure it offers enough ­career incentives for the bright young things of ­today to become the industry leaders of tomorrow.

Ian Monk is founder of Ian Monk Associates and was formerly a senior newspaper executive at the Daily Mail and The Sun

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