In a bid to find out just what makes young communicators in the region tick, the MEPRA Youth Board has embarked upon developing a comprehensive white paper to reveal the motivations, challenges, ambitions and opportunities of young PR professionals. With talent retention increasingly becoming a challenge in the industry, this white paper seeks to offer a practical perspective on what young communicators expect and need to thrive in their careers.
The white paper was developed upon the results of a national online survey targeting communications professionals under the age of 35 in the UAE. The survey was completed between August and October of 2020 by a total of 128 PR professionals across various organisations including agency, corporate, government and semi-government.
They key findings included a range of insights around the motivations, skillsets and drivers for pursuing a PR career.
When polled around the motivations behind exploring a career in PR, the majority of respondents cited exposure to international and leading brands as well as industry leaders, followed closely by the growing significance of PR and communications to businesses globally. Salary and benefits ranked very low as a key driver to pursue a PR career. From a skills perspective, writing was believed to be the most important technical skill and was also the highest ranked for in-house and agency communicators. While video editing ranked last for respondents, trends suggest that there will be less dependency on creative agencies and departments, meaning that young professionals may soon be expected to sharpen their multimedia and content production skills.
Talent retention was found to rely heavily on workplace culture, with it being ranked as the top deciding factor when selecting a workplace. Salary ranked third, showing that while compensation is important it is not a primary motivator for most. Ranked last was training and development, which may indicate that today’s young professionals often look beyond the workplace for resources to upskill themselves.
Perhaps most promising were the insights uncovered around the state of the industry and the future of PR.
The survey revealed that a new working model, career progression and company culture were high on the agenda for the next generation of PRs. Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, an increasing number of workplaces have successfully adopted hybrid work environments (work from home and work from office) with no significant bearing on productivity. We also found that respondents expect mental health and wellbeing to be prioritised more heavily in a post-pandemic world, citing it as one of the most crucial factors for a supportive and positive company culture.
Furthermore, it is clear that young professionals today are more ambitious than ever before – they are prepared to invest in and commit to the industry, so long as they can cash in their return on investment through career progression and development.