Skilled talent is always number one problem of a nascent industry. But here’s why our condition is worse than other industries when thy were in their nascent stages -
1) India is not preparing products for the PR industry. Mass comm and PR courses are extremely poor in academics, which puts added pressure of training on the employer agency. All the training happens AFTER one joins a company or agency.
2) The above doesn’t go well with the current times of instant gratification, instant success, instant three figure salaries and instant promotions.
3) So you have a completely raw talent who’s in a hurry to become big. Some may call it ambition. And in few industries, say Sales & Marketing, it may actually bide well for the job and the bosses. Not in PR. Here such hasty ambition takes away focus from learning. And without knowledge, you’re nobody in this industry.
4) What happens next is for all to see. This ambitious smart looking lad in a suit then tries to make up for lack of knowledge by talking. Smooth talking. Lots of it. And ends up coming across as a salesman. And you know how PR industry hates salesmen. We hate blabbers. Clients hate blabbers. Journalists hate blabbers.
5) What happens next is frequent job change for “better opportunities”. Three jobs in four years. The bad part is, he keep getting jobs! With salary hikes! That’s how desperate this industry is. It goes for anything with the hope of getting something better.
6) Now only two things happen to these lads in the future. When they exhaust all the agencies and corporates, they quit PR, and start on their own! Or over 6-10 years period, they do learn something and become mentors.
That’s where we stand. And the way I see it, everyone involved are equally guilty of creating this situation – institutes, youngsters, employers.
But coming to a solution, I strongly believe that the biggest part has to be played by the youngsters themselves. Institutes will take their own sweet time in coming up to pace with this industry. And agencies will not spend half their time only in training. And training by who? The creature I just described above! (Lol)
So if you’re a youngster, here’s my message to you. If you’re serious about PR, spend time in learning and gathering knowledge. You will never succeed in this industry without this. Create a habit of absorbing information, data, factoids. Create a habit of reading newspapers, watching news. Not just the After Hrs and party pages, but all types of news – political, business (beyond your client’s business), regional, social, civic, crime, legal, international. Everything.