Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Still No Work in PR 

I'm late in commenting on this story. It was reported last Friday that PR budgets and jobs are still down in the US. Here is the essence of the study:

While an advertising rebound may be under way, the public relations sector is seeing budgets and staff levels waning, according to a study released last week by the USC Annenberg Strategic Public Relations Center. According to the study, PR budgets last year among companies on Fortune's "Most Admired" list were down 5.5 percent from 2002. (In comparison, total ad budgets were up 6.1 percent in 2003, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR.) PR staffing in 2003 dropped by an average of 15 staffers within Fortune 500 companies, according to the study.

My wife has been reviewing resumes for a client who is hiring a PR manager. She was astonished by the high quality of responses she was reading for a mid-level job. There were people with qualifications that beggar mine and they were seeking work at a far lower level of income than they had been getting.

No, the job deficit is not over in PR: I am at a loss when it will end. I have written here before that we have gone back to the future. We are an industry that looks more and more in size like the early to middle 1990s before Internet madness set in. I'm not sure PR will ever return to its size during the Bubble. On the other hand, I'm not sure it won't either. It is possible through organic growth that the industry will return to its former size, but it won't be through the dramatic hiring of five years ago. It will be a slow and moderated return that will leave fine professionals on the street and searching for work outside of PR.


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