What are the recruitment trends in 2021 for the PR industry?
We’ve just completed one of the most challenging years ever for the PR industry. Just like every other industry, the impact of COVID-19, Black Lives Matter, Brexit, The US Elections and Environmental disasters have transformed the landscape. Finding ways to create effective, timely communications to stand out during this period has been extremely challenging.
Considering the number of articles released throughout 2020, it is clear that having effective media coverage is difficult for any client. In October 2020 alone, for example, there were over 2.7 million articles written around COVID-19.
So how has this affected recruitment?
We’ve prepared a breakdown of what we believe will be some of the key PR recruiting trends of 2021.
Working remotely is here to stay.
Employers are now better equipped to support a fully digitalised working environment. You can pretty much work effectively from anywhere. We predict that even when the lockdown restrictions are over, the majority of PR & Comms candidates will ask to spend at least half their working week based at home.
Communications will continue to be virtual
The pandemic has transformed the way we communicate. Digitalisation means that pretty much most of what we do is now online. In 2021, Interviews, Careers Fairs, Recruitment Assessments, Internal and External Meetings, Pitches, Presentations, and Social Events will continue to be based primarily online. 2020 saw the rapid rise in use of MSMeetings, Zoom calls, Whatsapp chats, Live streaming, podcasting, video platforms, webinars, and social media story telling.
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
2021 will be the year when companies will need to demonstrate if and how they have met their Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Targets. Clients, suppliers and job seekers will want to know where you stand and if you really put your money where your mouth is. It is definitely a time to review your recruitment strategy if you haven’t already. For tips to help you to improve your recruitment strategy you can read our article here
If you’re a freelancer you’ll be in demand
Whilst we hope that the future will be brighter in 2021, it is still uncertain. We believe that it will be easier to secure freelance work, as employers look to bridge short term skills gaps before deciding whether to recruit permanently.
Crisis Management Comms and PR specialists will continue to be in particular demand as economic and social insecurity continue.
Employers will be keen to hire candidates with experience working with and integrating Influencers in PR campaigns. Influencers give brands a voice and are trusted by consumers.
Online Content, Blogging & SEO
Skills in building content strategy and writing online content for various publications will significantly increase your job prospects. Experience in SEO is also highly rated. Make sure that you can give specific examples of these skills in your job application or CV. Having an online presence, in the form of writing your own blog, is also a great way to showcase your storytelling skills and expertise on specific topics.
PR agencies’ reliance on recruitment agencies is still high
Around 74 per cent of clients we surveyed said that they had used recruitment agencies to help them with their vacancies, listing it among the top three most important channels for sourcing skilled candidates. This was particularly important at Senior level, where discretion was needed.
Consequently, it stands to reason that job seekers who register with agencies may have access to more jobs than those who do not. Plus they are given inside knowledge, assistance and guidance from a trained employment specialist too.
Recruitment agencies understand their clients’ businesses very well, enabling them to identify industry trends, skills availability and help predict future needs. They can help companies create roles that both fit the business’s requirements and emphasise a candidate’s strengths.
It’s still a counter (offer) culture
Counter offers are still very common. A counter offer is where an employer tries to match or better a new job offer made by a rival company. If you have had a counter offer you might be flattered. It may make you feel valued and needed. Be careful. A counter offer might be seen as a ‘knee-jerk’ reaction, made by bosses who suddenly realise they don’t want to lose their key talent or go through the costly recruitment process of finding a replacement.
Unfortunately a counter offer of a pay rise or slightly improved working conditions doesn’t always change the way an employee feels about their job. Make sure, when considering a counter offer, that things will change for you for the better and that you won’t end up regretting giving up a potentially great opportunity elsewhere.
Use of social media continues to rise…
Recruiters’ use of social media to source and screen candidates has risen exponentially over the past four years. Professional networks are one of the key sources for advertising and filling positions. It has been said that the use of LinkedIn in recruitment has helped to ‘level the playing field’; anyone could create a profile for free and get their name out there.
…but should it replace the CV?
Some people argue that employers should accept a LinkedIn profile over a standard CV. Given how infrequently candidates update their resumes, compared to the speed at which LinkedIn is refreshed, companies could speed up their hiring by accepting LinkedIn profiles for regular job applications.
LinkedIn profiles should synchronise with your cv. If nothing else, it will help with your professional social network.
Trends come and go; some predictions come into fruition while others fizzle out before they’ve got anywhere. You can never be sure what the next ‘big thing’ might be. Make sure you have done your research, consulted the experts and kept up to date with industry events to help you identify any trends and act on them.
Knowing what these challenges will be should enhance your prospects of securing a new job. If you want to more help on applying for work then read our article on What makes a great PR/ Comms candidate?