Public Relations Tactics

What Skill Sets Will PR Pros Need in the Future?

May 2, 2016

A report by the USC Annenberg Center for Public Relations provides an excellent snapshot of the profession’s future. While PR executives around the world are optimistic about the projected growth over the next five years, the survey, which USC released on April 14 in conjunction with PRSA and other groups, found that questions remain about PR’s ability to find the necessary staffing to capitalize on these opportunities.

The findings are fitting for this career development issue. Both agency and corporate executives agreed that attracting and retaining the right talent is the greatest challenge preventing them from achieving their goals.

The survey also found that agencies and corporations are searching for the same employee capabilities. Traditional expertise still tops the list of skills that communications departments and PR firms view as key to success over the next five years. Client and agency respondents (89 percent) said that written communications rank as most important while media relations is further behind (63 percent).

Writing ranked as more critical than strategic planning (84 percent), social media expertise (76 percent) and multimedia content development (76 percent) and a long way ahead of business literacy (62 percent), analytics (62 percent), research (48 percent), search engine optimization (41 percent) and behavioral science (32 percent).

When asked what personal traits they felt were critical for the future, PR leaders rated traditional values of teamwork (92 percent) and hard work (82 percent) high on the list, but also believe their teams are already strong in these areas. They say they need more horsepower in areas of curiosity, creativity and critical thinking.

PR agency leaders also predict the overall business for their firms will grow from its current size (estimated at $14 billion by The Holmes Report) to around $19.3 billion over the next five years, while the number of employees will increase by nearly 26 percent.

Résumé evaluation

At PRSA, job seekers now have the option to request a complimentary, confidential résumé evaluation from a writer skilled in techniques to enhance your presentation to prospective employers.
You can participate after uploading your résumé to the PRSA Jobcenter Résumé Management section.

Within 48 hours of opt-in, you will receive an email outlining your strengths and weaknesses, and suggestions to ensure that you have the best chance of landing an interview.

For more details, visit: prsa.org/jobcenter.   

John Elsasser

John Elsasser is the publications director of PRSA and the editor in chief of Strategies & Tactics. He joined PRSA in 1994.

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