Iliyana's Blog

PR Has Work to Do Before It Deserves a Seat the Board Table

[fa icon="calendar"] 18-Apr-2017 10:00:00 / by Iliyana Stareva

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PR skills are still lacking and the gender pay gap is still heavily prevalent, especially in agencies. 

These were two of the findings that struck the most out for me when I was reading the results of the eight State of PR survey done by the CIPR - the largest professional PR body in Europe. 

When we look at what PR people do daily, the research reveals a 10% jump in the number of respondents spending most and some of their time on strategic planning - going up to 60%.

No surprise, though, that content creation and media relations are at the top of this list, respectively at 82% and 73%. But what's surprising is that measurement and evaluation hasn't moved much since last year and is still at the 50s.

I've always said that PR people are the best content creators but are really bad at measurement even though they all say that's the area they need to improve. However, if you're not spending time on time on it, how are you going to improve it? Reading this research makes me feel like Inbound PR is making more and more sense

To that point, quantitative and qualitative data analysis are among the top weakest skills and competencies. 

In my opinion, that certainly is one of the reasons why PR is under-represented at the C-level table. PR sees this as the biggest challenge for the future, but PR also needs to do something to be wanted at that table. If PR doesn't have the skills or understanding as to how whatever they're doing impacts the bottom line, then no C-level executive has the time to listen to tactical or fluffy PR

Stuart Bruce explains terrifically well how the current PR skills and the outlook for them are not fit for the future. Read his post. 

But fixing this skills issue needs to come from the top. Leadership needs to explain why learning certain skills is so critical and embed it into the daily jobs by inspiring learning and knowledge sharing, by pushing people to do certifications and apply their new skills to their work. Few individual contributors do this on their own and so expecting that people will just figure it out is not realistic (or clever). 

The Gender Pay Gap is Just Shocking

Now, if we look at gender pay, the mean gap is £5,784. That's a significant difference for people doing the same job but just being male or female. 

Next, look closer at the table below and notice the difference within the agency sector only. That's a whopping £24,265.31! I'm glad I left agency world. 

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So what are women to do? 

I'm not sure I have the answer apart from fighting this and standing for our rights. 

There's a lot of data to support this unfair pay gap but it's hard for women to break the cultural and societal beliefs that have been embedded for years, that have become unconscious bias.

One of my colleagues from HubSpot, whose career I highly admire, wrote a post recently that can serve women in such situations well. It's about us being seen as aggressive when we are driven, work hard and demand what we've earned and how not to let this get in your head. I urge you to read it by clicking here

Critically looking at internal problems such as the gender pay gap and doing something about it is another area where PR needs to step up. It needs to show development because progress is what needs to happen at that C-level table.  


What does PR need to do to deserve a seat at the board table? 


Topics: Public Relations

Iliyana Stareva

Written by Iliyana Stareva

Iliyana Stareva is the author of Inbound PR - the book that is transforming the PR industry. She's also a keynote speaker and a consultant in inbound and digital for fast-growing companies and agencies. Currently, Iliyana is Chief of Staff to the EMEA President at ServiceNow. Before that, she held global and EMEA-wide positions at Cisco and HubSpot. She is also certified by the PMI as a Project Management Professional (PMP)®. In her free time, you can find Iliyana writing for her blog, dancing salsa or travelling the world.

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