Attracting and retaining the right talent within the PR industry in Nigeria emerged as one of the top challenges the Nigerian PR industry faces, according to the latest Nigeria PR report.
The report states that the challenge is worrisome given the importance of people to excellent service delivery, client satisfaction and the growth of the business.
“But talent is not only important to the external growth of the organization, but the costs involved in terms of time and expense to recruit, interview, and train new employees also need to be considered too.
“Then for trained employees that go on to work in other organizations, they also take with them the experience and know-how, adding to further costs for the organization”, the report said.
Insights from the report indicate that 70% of the professionals within the industry have less than five years of work experience.
On what therefore needs to be done to make the PR industry more attractive to new entrants into the industry, the research report conducted by BHM, a foremost PR firm in Nigeria advised that seasoned professionals and institutions should begin to explore the establishment of teaching faculty in PR management to equip new graduates seeking career opportunities in PR.
There also needs to be a clear understanding of the role of the public relations professional and the set of skills required for a successful career. “It is also important to define possible career paths, so as to attract the best minds into the industry”.
To do this, they need to be equipped with adequate training to go from the basics of writing and communication, ethics, working in a team, time management, to include more specialized skills tailored to the various job roles. “One example to learn from can be the graduate trainee programme model where new graduates are put through various aspects of PR so that they get work experience and can select the areas that align with their interests and abilities”
The report said even for the staff with 5-10 years of experience (18 per cent), there are opportunities for PR training programmes to equip them with middle management skills.
The report further states the need to retain mid-level managers which it said becomes even more apparent when the industry considers the gender composition of senior management in PR. “Not only are we losing mid-level managers, but we are also losing our female mid-level managers according to Omawunmi Ogbe of GLG Communications. Although women dominate PR and Marketing, it is contrasting to note that the majority of the top positions in the industry, across agency and regulatory bodies are occupied by men.
“One reason for this may be the lack of flexible working schemes. We need to look at how to make it easier for women to work within the industry, to strike a balance that can ensure we are able to retain the talent and unique perspectives women bring to the industry.