In Hotwire's study, final-year university students were asked which industries were effective at promoting themselves to candidates. PR ranked ninth out of 12 popular career choices.
The industry lost out in favour of more traditional professions, especially legal or financial roles. Banking (7.58 out of 10), accountancy (7.5), retail and marketing (7.1), teaching (6.9), law (6.6), engineering (6.5) and advertising (6.3) all achieved a higher effectiveness score than the PR industry (6.2).
Only the charity sector (5.7), medical science (5.6) and journalism (4.3) were seen as less effective than the PR industry at promoting career opportunities to graduates.
Hotwire carried out the survey among the university graduates who expressed an interest in the agency's 2008 trainee scheme. The agency's UK MD Brendon Craigie called the results 'truly shocking', adding that a 'proactive approach' was the only way to address this gap.
He continued: 'Our industry has a lot of ground to make up if it is to be taken seriously by graduates. We have experienced significant growth in the past five years, but there is a danger that we will be unable to sustain this if we cannot expand the talent pool.'
PRWeek's recent salary survey (PRWeek 28 February) indicates that entry level salaries in PR are on the up.