This event, held at the CIPR in London earlier this month, aimed to offer a snapshot of the current state of the PR industry in the UK and, based on research carried out with the CIPR’s regional groups this year (though not the Channel Islands), look at what the future holds in store.
The results of the research were useful. It was highlighted, for example, that around 75% of PR practitioners see online reputation management as the biggest area of growth, and that, with two thirds of PR practitioners being female, more men should be encouraged into the industry - despite men having more senior positions than women.
Hot topics debated included evaluation, PR being represented at board level, that ‘the PR industry needs to better at its own PR’, and training opportunities for senior practitioners - though some attendees were clearly disgruntled that these issues were still even up for debate.
For an event that aimed to analyse and debate the future of the PR industry, though, the number of attendees was fairly low and there was a real lack of the ‘younger’ generation present. The majority of those that were there, with the best will in the world, were not likely to be still working in the industry in ten years time. It felt a bit like a ‘reunion of the old brigade’.
Which might go some way to explaining why those attending were complaining so much about the industry not moving forward. The event suggested that, in 2020 ‘a successful practice will be clear on what public relations is and the benefits it can deliver’. If we are to achieve that and stop treading water, the industry – including the industry bodies – need to be more inclusive, less cliquey, more outward looking and more relevant to the professionals that will actually drive the industry forward and be shaping it come 2020. This event was a start, but there is clearly some way to go.
The recommendations for the PR industry suggested by the event can be found athttp://www.cipr.co.uk/sites/default/files/PR%202020%20Final%20Report_0.pdf