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PR Sector Fails To Invest In Professional Development, Leads to High Turnover

Agencies have an increased focus on recruitment, instead of retention


While PR, advertising, and marketing agency size have been on the rise since the new millennium, staff turnover is also higher than ever. The average turnover for a marketing agency is around 17%, however two thirds are looking to expand by an average of 26%[i], meaning more importance is being placed on recruitment rather than retention of already trained staff.


This figure only increases in the PR sector, with turnover ranging from 20-30%. Some agencies can even rise as high as 50%, which contributes to why PR is frequently labelled as one of the most stressful professions[i]. In 2016, 14% of agencies stated they offered no professional development opportunities to their staff[ii], the vast majority of which were small agencies.


This can undermine overall ability to deliver on results, as well as office morale. Investing in staff makes them feel valued, more capable, and will mean they’re more likely to stay.


Mike Smith, of Ripley Training, offers this advice to PR and Media agencies who want to attract new staff as well as keep those who have been at a company for years: ‘Progressive agencies are investing time in quality conversations with team members as well as developing the key skills and knowledge of senior personnel in how to lead and manage effectively. 


Employee engagement is paramount to the success of all organisations, PR and Media agencies are no exception.  A small investment of time and development can pay dividends in retaining the best for longer and attracting quality team members through the reputation of the agency.’


Almost three quarters (70%) of the PR sector are graduates[iii], highly mobile, and motivated to work for a company that nurtures and invests its employees. What’s more, a staggering 87% of millennials say that professional development is very important, and agencies are slowly taking note, now offering additional training to help lower their turnover, as well as to boost their staff’s skills.


[i] https://www.thedrum.com/opinion/2017/04/12/trend-the-wow-company-reports-what-the-average-uk-agency-looks

[i] https://www.shortlist.com/news/most-stressful-jobs-in-the-uk/333159

[ii] https://arpr.com/industry-cross-roads-pr-must-commitment-professional-development/

[iii] https://www.prospects.ac.uk/jobs-and-work-experience/job-sectors/marketing-advertising-and-pr/overview-of-the-uks-marketing-advertising-and-pr-sector

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