Making the move – PR agency to in house

One of the most common questions we get asked when speaking to potential job seekers, is ‘do you have any in house roles?’. It’s rare to speak to a PR professional who at some point throughout their career, hasn’t considered moving away from PR agency life and into the relative calm of an in house comms role.

This desire to depart agency life is understandable in many ways, but from a recruitment perspective, when the industry is crying out for PR talent particularly at the mid-senior level, it’s the one question that causes a big sigh from us.

There are of course huge benefits to working for a business in a PR or comms capacity. You get to focus on one business or brand, you’re able to really get under the skin of the company you work for, and work with the support of an external PR agency. Agency life can become repetitive. You can move from agency to agency to agency throughout your career, and for some, it can feel like they’re one and the same bar different clients and team mates.

In our experience, the appeal of in house tends to start at the Senior Account Manager level, with PRs often starting to think about moving away from the fast pace and intense way of agency work.

Making the transition from agency to in house isn’t particularly challenging from a skills perspective. PR agencies equip you very well in how to spin plates, deal with demanding clients and keep on the ball. From our experience of recruiting for in house PR positions, businesses tend to be very open to seeing candidates from an agency background. But it seems that the biggest difficulty for PR’s tends to be with actually finding a role.

Agency side PR recruitment is constant – new client win, team changes, new projects – the volume of vacant roles in the PR industry is high! From the junior level through to Director level, agencies are often continually on the hunt for fresh talent for a myriad of reasons. In house, not quite the same … Often the team will be relatively established, with promotion and progression opportunities fewer and farther between (in comparison to agency side). This can mean that in house roles don’t open up as often, so when PRs start to test the waters and put feelers out, or even proactively look for an in house role, it can be a much slower process. From a higher volume of applicants to fewer vacant roles, to a generally slower interview and selection process. We’ve previously worked with PRs who have been searching for the perfect in house role for over a year!

When PR candidates look for another agency side role, they can often check out job specs, have their CV put forward, be interviewed & offered the role within the space of a couple of weeks (sometimes less!) whereas the in house process tends to overall be much slower, right off the bat. That being said, there are of course some fantastic opportunities out there in the PR industry away from agency life. It’s just a case of being patient and proactive when it comes to your job hunt.

If you want to chat about your next role, find out more about the current job market or get some advice on your search then give us a call or drop us an email – we’d love to chat!