State of the Profession matters: Shape the future of the PR business

By Jon Gerlis, public relations and policy manager, CIPR,

I have a favour to ask and it’s right at the bottom of this post so I’m more than happy for you to skip to the end on this occasion. 

If you’re still with me, allow me to indulge in a rare moment of reflection.

2019 has been a fantastically busy year for the CIPR – one, I hope, we can proudly look back on. We published two new guides, recruiting public relations staff and acquiring the services of agencies or freelance practitioners, developed a campaign to prepare businesses and the profession for a no deal Brexit, published #PRPays interviews on the value of public relations with like likes of BEIS and Danske Bank, produced guidance on crisis communications in the event of a terrorist related incident, published our Energy Leadership Platform’s report into what energy industry leaders want from PR and industry leading guidance from our Artificial Intelligence Panel. 

One particular project I am most proud of working on – although will not take credit for – is our  #CIPRWellbeing work on mental health lead by our Health Group. This work was, in part, driven by the damning results on the subject of stress and mental health from last year’s State of the Profession report. 

 It found one in five – 21% public relations practitioners live with, or have previously lived with, a diagnosed mental health condition. This may well reflect national data but our survey found that over half of those respondents said their work in PR contributes highly to their diagnosis. That is damning. 

I hope our continued work in this area highlights the value we get from you taking the State of the Profession survey. We really can only do that with your support. Our work on mental health remains a commitment. The data from last year’s survey demands that. We will return to the questions on mental health in another year or two so we can measure wider trends and focus on delivering more value for members in this area.  

As part of our refreshed survey we have developed a range of new questions including on the subject of social mobility.  

Last year’s survey found more younger practitioners entering the profession via private education than ever before. 28% of the profession is made up of those who have been privately educated – four times the national average and double since our 2015/16 survey. 

As a profession we are seeing a contrast between intention and reality; despite increasing numbers of PR professionals agreeing that diversity makes for more effective campaigns – instead the profession is becoming less diverse, both socially and ethnically. If we’re serious about truly reflecting our publics, we can’t keep paying lip service to the issue.

So, before I go away and plan for 2020, that favour; whether you are a CIPR member or not, senior or junior practitioner, living in or outside the UK, working in-house, agency or as an independent practitioner we value your opinions and hope you can find 5 minutes to fill in our survey 

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash


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