Here at Hartigan Recruitment, we recently conducted a survey of PR professionals in the UK, to try and determine the driving factors behind looking for a new role. With PR talent still in very high demand, we wanted to understand what might tempt a much sought after PR to consider leaving their job, to take on a new position in the competitive PR agency world.
Equally, knowing that the majority of PR professionals are most likely approached by numerous recruiters every day, we wanted to find out the most acceptable way of getting ‘in touch’ to suggest opportunities, without intruding or presuming that what we are saying is going to appeal.
We heard from PRs across a wide variety of industries – 53% of respondents specialise in the B2B Technology sector, 42% in Corporate & Finance PR, and 28% in both the Consumer & Lifestyle, and Digital, Media & Marketing fields. 61% of survey participants are in permanent jobs, with the remainder working as either freelancers or contractors.
We asked how PRs found their last role … an unsurprising 42% said that they secured their current job through their own network of contacts. 30% said that they contacted a recruiter themselves. As recruiters, we have always found that the relationships you develop with a PR do stand the test of time, and we frequently find ourselves working with candidates again, years down the line.
Only 11% of the PRs we asked said that they found their most recent position by being contacted directly by a recruiter. Considering the sheer number of recruiters who specialise in PR, and the quantity of approaches recruiters make to passive PR talent, it’s surprising that so few secure their new roles in this way.
Understanding the actual reasons behind considering a career move was important to us – although each individual will have their own defined goals and objectives when it comes to a change in their career – it’s interesting to understand what it is in the PR industry generally, that both active and passive job seekers deem most important.
Career progression and salary came in as the major drivers, with 36% saying that long-term development is the most important consideration, and 28% claiming an uplift in salary would entice them.
When it comes to the most dominant social platform used by job seekers, LinkedIn, unsurprisingly, was preferred by 92% of the PR professionals we surveyed. 40% have used Twitter as well, with just 16% using Facebook.
Not a huge shock. LinkedIn is one of the most widely used, global platforms for professionals. However as a recruiter, sending generic, blanket messages to anyone and everyone who has the ‘right’ job title, isn’t going to cut it. Considering 80% of our respondents stated that being contacted as a passive job seeker via personal email was preferred, versus just 56% OK’ing the LinkedIn approach, from a recruitment perspective it’s probably not the best way to attract talent. InMails and requests to connect largely go ignored because of the volume received and vagueness of the content.
In an industry like PR, where recruitment is predominantly candidate led, you have to ensure you’re identifying people whose skill set truly fits the brief you have in mind, make your approach personal – both in how you write it and via what channel you send it – plus give enough detail to actually sell the opportunity.
Lastly, we wanted to genuinely understand where recruiters in general are going wrong in the eyes of job seekers. Not fully understanding the industry and pitching irrelevant job opportunities was considered by many to be a frustration. Another common issue came down to treating talent like a number, as opposed to working collaboratively to ensure candidates find a role which not only fits their basic search requirements, but ticks all the boxes in terms of ideal company culture, long term development opportunities and dream client portfolio.
The PR sector will remain a challenging industry to recruit in, I’m sure. Not least because of the ever-growing demand for stand out candidates, but also the increasing pressures businesses & PR agencies are under to retain their staff and ensure they’re not swayed by tempting offers elsewhere. It’s been incredibly insightful to hear from the horse’s mouth, so to speak, what PRs look for in a recruiter, particularly when not active in the job market. We need to focus on what’s important from a candidate’s viewpoint – be the middle man and not a sales person for your client. Build genuine relationships, hear what candidates tell you they want and need, and just be on their side throughout the recruitment process.
We pride ourselves on doing just this. So, if you’re interested in hearing about any of the roles we are hiring for currently, or just want to chat about your options, then please get in touch.
T: 020 3198 0081