Blog Culture/Agency Life

‘Cuse Chronicles by a CEO – The War for PR Talent

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Phil NardonePresident & Chief Executive Officer

This past week, my students had the pleasure of hearing from one of PAN’s very own Liz Aguiló, our HR guru. I like inviting people like Liz into speak to my classes because through her work as an HR professional, she can answer the one question on every second semester senior’s mind – how do I get a job? While Juno raged on around us and cancelled our travel to campus, Liz Skyped into both sessions of my capstone and shared insights on everything from resume tips to interview best practices.

With the ominous “real world” lingering over their heads, the prospect of leaving college with a job can make the transition for seniors a little less scary. After class on Tuesday, I read an article from Kathy Cripps, the President of the Council of Public Relations Firms, in which she specifically highlighted the industry’s current growth spurt. As I mentioned last week, the DNA of a PR agency is much different today than it was even five years ago, but something in particular stuck out to me from Kathy’s article. According to the results from a recent PR Council survey, 87 percent of agencies are hiring this year. This is astronomical.

After reading this article, I had a long conversation with my TA, Adam. For those of you that don’t know, Adam graduated in 2008 which is commonly known as one of the worst times in recent years to find a job, especially for graduating seniors. Jobs were few and far between and most graduating seniors did not have the benefit of picking and choosing between different options.

Fast forward seven years and things are drastically different. The more PR agencies that are hiring, the more competitive the job market has become from the hirer’s perspective. Not only does this signify once again that the PR industry is growing, but for the students it indicates that there really is no better time to be graduating and looking for a job in PR.

Students often approach me with questions like “Professor Nardone, is it true? Are PR agencies really hiring?” I find that I can offer reassurance and clarity to my students. In this particular scenario, I can confidently agree that yes, the PR industry is thriving and agencies are hiring. I’m especially confident because I’ve seen it firsthand at PAN. As indicated in our most recent release, PAN added 13 new hires in the second half of 2014, totaling 25 new employees last year.

Although the hiring market has certainly improved, students still ultimately have questions. To address this, every year I host a panel discussion with leading human resource professionals from five national PR firms. I work closely with Elizabeth Famiglietti, our Senior Vice President of Human Resources, to coordinate this panel, which will take place on Feb. 10th. Elizabeth will be moderating a conversation between five of the best HR professionals in business. This virtual roundtable is open to all public relations majors, not just those who are students in my capstone. It’s never too early for students to start thinking about their future and I can’t wait to hear what our panel has to say about the current hiring state for PR.

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