4 important PR hiring trends you should know about

4 PR hiring trends that agencies & talent should take note of in 2014

One of my favourite things about recruitment, particularly in PR, is hearing about what’s happening in the industry, and seeing the trends from an “outside looking in” perspective. People love to share and since my business is directly affected by what’s going on in the PR world, it’s imperative that I follow the trends I’m observing and hearing from candidates, clients, and the industry.

With the year 2014 in full swing, I’d like to share with you four of the PR recruitment trends I’ve seen of late.

1. Desire to move in-house vs. availability of roles

Many candidates, particularly at senior levels, are calling me because they want to leave the agency world and make the move toward in-house roles. Many think the hours will be more stable, they are tired of new business demands, or they just plain want to try something new and be fully immersed in one brand. However we’re finding that the availability of such jobs is scarce. We have fantastic agency candidates that would be snapped up in a heartbeat by a competing agency who search sometimes over a year to find a role in-house.

2. Move toward digital

These days I rarely take a brief from a client that doesn’t call for digital or social media skills. Even agencies that currently don’t do much social media for clients are trying to bring in people who do, and who can launch it in their agency. Agencies are fearing becoming obsolete if they ignore it, clients are asking for it, and agencies are seeing more opportunity for revenue.

Furthermore, the candidate who came with strong digital skills was a rarity one year ago; now most candidates coming through have at least a moderate level of experience with social or digital.

3. Salaries inflated last year… then dropped

Firebrand conducted two Market Pulse salary and hiring trends surveys last year, and both delivered very different data based on when they were conducted. My personal experience was consistent with this: in mid-2013, there was a spike, to the tune of $5-10K per role, in what candidates were asking for salaries… and they were getting it! This talent-driven market was reflected in the staff turnover statistics shown in the report. Every agency surveyed reported some turnover, and 44% of them had over 50% turnover. So with scarcity out there, salaries were driven up. We are now seeing they have levelled out, and are more consistent with where they were this time last year.

4. Junior go-getters are grabbing the hot jobs

The profile of the hottest candidate that seems to be grabbing up all the hot jobs – at least on agency side – is the confident, but down to earth go-getter; the one who brings in loads of new business, can juggle a large amount of accounts, can mentor junior staff, has strong digital or social skills, and still has time to help old ladies cross the street.

But further to this, many agencies are requesting more junior staff to fill vacancies left by more senior staff. The reason? They say their budgets have dropped, and many have expressed fear that at the senior level, people will be looking to move in-house and not stay in the agency for long.

While these are trends I’ve observed from my own experience rather than absolute truths, perhaps being across them will help you figure out where to pitch yourself if you’re looking for a new role, and give you an idea of what’s going on in the wild world of PR.

Looking for a role within PR & Communications in Sydney? Get in touch with Deborah Musolff, or view our current PR jobs

More reading: 

Powerful innovation for agencies – do it, or die!
Why you’re losing the best PR talent to competitors
The role of social media in crisis communications
7 deadly sins PR agencies commit


Award-winning Australian recruitment agency, Firebrand Talent, ignites the careers of digital, marketing, creative, communications, advertising, & media talent. If you are looking for your next career move, check out the jobs we currently have on in Sydney & Melbourne.

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