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.

History’s Greatest PR Guy

On my way home from Wolfstar tonight I was drafting one of my many grad scheme applications and came across my favourite question so far (yes I have favourites). The question was If I had a table at a top London restaurant who, if I could have anyone, would I choose to invite?

The question reminded me of a recent post by Stuart Bruce about his favourite communicators, especially Cicero.

My pick for favourite dinner guest is Voltaire. This is partly because Voltaire, like Cicero, was a great Orator. He may even have been the wittiest person ever to live which would make him alot of fun over steak. He could also, however, summarise the greatest theories ever created in 12 words (a handy skill in writing a news release), was the master of the catchphrase (‘all is for the best in the best of all possible worlds’) and had a massive imagination (Micromegas is possibly the first science fiction story). In short Voltaire was a damn good PR guy and you could learn more in an evening listening to Voltaire than in years at a PR agency. Think about it:

Imagine having the man who said “I may disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it”on the phone selling you a storyVoltaire

How about brainstorming with a man who was exiled from France for  being too witty?

A new media specialist on the team? Voltaire specialised in writing pamphlets, still a new medium in French politics.

If Voltaire were alive today he would be in PR. Cicero would be in public affairs but I think Voltaire would dive straight into consumer; he took shots at everything he could so he’d yearn for the variety of consumer and would undoubtedly devote himself to pushing every brand to it’s limit.

That’s my first proper post thanks for joining me and I hope you come back for more.

P.S.
I also thought about any other historical figures I could picture in the industry and I came up Casanova, it takes some serious reputation management to seduce nuns and still emerge the good guy.

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