One word; Plastics (easier to get into than PR anyway)

A couple of days ago Adam Lewis posted asking whether PR would attract more and better candidates if more PR agencies offered grad schemes. I’m of the opinion that too few agencies offer grad schemes and that does effect the quality of graduates coming in to the industry.

Jedh, however doesn’t think PR needs schemes because the industry gets all the grads it could ever want (proven by the low starting salaries) and having to jump through all the hoops makes sure only the grads who really want it get in.

Bollocks. the big financial grad schemes (PWC, Deloitte) claim to receive around 100 applications per place. Edelman’s grad scheme received 250 total; Competition for Grad places in PR is not that high. The low stfondue_graduate_wideweb__430x396arting salaries are a symptom of the industry valuing experience over new grads. Where other industries relish the chance to train a grad to work exactly as the company needs them (Law firms often recruit students between university and law school so they can provide their own training alongside their law studies) Pr agencies prefer to take on employees with a proven track record who will not need the expense of extensive training.

In order to get in to PR most Grads have to do a string of unpaid work experience placements to show they have some modicum of experience and, apparently, a commitment to the industry. In reality what this does is bar entry to many people who live outside London: I was lucky enough to get in at Wolfstar but a friend who lives in the same area couldn’t get in at one of the handful of Leeds agencies and after 6 months of trying has been forced to give up. This drives away grads who simply can’t afford to spend months doing unpaid work and sends them to industries which pays them well and doesn’t demand they bankrupt themselves before they’ve even begun.

PR needs more companies offering grad schemes in order to pull in the best and brightest and give grads a chance at fighting their way into the industry; just because you can’t spend months doing unpaid work doesn’t mean you don’t care about working in the industry.

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1 Comment

  1. Cheers for the link Paul. Maybe after the recession, PR firms might step-up their grad scheme advertising. Agree with you that at the moment, unless you do plenty of work experience you’re going to find it difficult to enter the industry meaning all previous studies a waste of time.


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