Despite this fact, I have noticed a change – not only here at PAN but also in my classes at Newhouse. Since I started teaching this capstone class, it’s become a habit of mine to check the roster to see how many males students I’ll be teaching. This year, I almost fell off my chair when I saw that a third of my students were MALES. This is a huge improvement and signifies an interesting trend of what’s coming for our industry: more males. To provide some perspective, during one of my earlier years of teaching this capstone class, I had one male between both sessions. That’s right just one out of 30+ something students.
It’s not as surprising to see males in leadership positions in the PR industry. But on the other of the spectrum I have been in numerous conversations with my colleagues at Newhouse about “where are all the guys?” I asked some of the gents in my class this past week, why they chose PR as a major? I got everything from, I started in Broadcast Journalism and didn’t like it to it’s the best place to meet girls. The best answer to me was about the integration of digital into the PR industry enticing two of guys in my class to join in. Being a successful PR guy or gal means so much more than just having savvy media relations. It’s about being an analytical thinker with a highly creative, data-driven mind. With the recent rise of social media, clients want teams who are well-versed in Twitter and Google Analytics and have the abilities to improve, manage and leverage their social media channels. These types of professions tend to be of more interest to men and thus are part of the reason why I believe there soon will be many more guys walking the halls of PR agencies – certainly a major reason why more of looking to PR as a major!
At PAN, I like to think that we’ve been leading the charge on this trend for some time now. We have three male PR VPs, all touching the different practice areas we work in – healthcare, technology and consumer. In a few weeks, I’ll be discussing the topic of diversity with my capstone students and I look forward to hearing more from them on this subject. How can our industry, not only attract more men, but African American or Hispanic men and women? What do they think has changed over the past five years?