Hypocrisy and opportunity – inspired by #ihprc
So, obviously the big conversations for me at #ihprc revolved around professionalisation and PR-specific education. As well as presenting on the subject, I was also lucky enough to speak with a few academics and professionals on the subject – including Heather Yaxley of greenbanana.
In a recent greenbanana blog post, Heather has written about the need for PR-specific education/qualifications to take greater prominence in job ads. We actually discussed this back at #ihprc. At the time, the CIPR was looking for a new head of comms/policy (or similar) and yet the job ad made no mention of a PR education. The CIPR job site does not encourage employers to seek PR-specific qualifications.
So, the CIPR and PRCA want to support PR-specific education and endorse it for recruitment but my (admittedly now out-of-date) research showed fewer than 1% of job ads mentioned PR-specific education and the CIPR and PRCA do not mention it in their own job ads let alone supporting others to do so.
And opportunity. The new CIPR website has a big focus on PR qualifications and education on the homepage and e-bulletins to members focus strongly on the Certificate and Diploma. It would be the logical next step to introduce to the code of conduct the requirement to specify PR-specific education in recruitment and to highlight roles which do so.
Of course, you do not have to be qualified in PR to be good at your job. But, there is a definite benefit to understanding the history of the profession and embracing continuous professional development – reading articles, analysing case studies, attending seminars.
By encouraging recruiters to ask for PR-specific education, it will become the norm rather than the exception. We don’t want an army of PR clones – but we do want to carve out a niche for our profession before it gets eradicated by competitors (HR, digital, marketing, media, etc) who achieve the same reputational goals by different means.