Calls to ‘plug the gap’ in PR and comms industry

Health Industry Hub | July 13, 2022 |
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The public relations and communications industry is struggling to meet an increase in demand as vacancies remain unfilled due to low numbers of skilled applicants and a resulting fierce battle for existing talent.

The Public Relations Institute of Australia (PRIA) has launched a Migration Taskforce to advocate for migration reform to provide immediate relief to the skills crisis the industry currently faces. The Taskforce will advocate for the National Skills Commission to place public relations and communications industry professionals on the Long-Term Strategic Skills List, opening up pathways to permanent residency for migrants.

“During the COVID-19 pandemic demand for public relations and communications skills accelerated, driven by the increased awareness of the value of effective, credible and timely communication and engagement with staff, customers and stakeholders to ensure our organisations and institutions were being known, being understood, and most importantly being trusted,” said Shane Allison, PRIA National President.

“This demand placed unprecedented strain on our industry, and while we have risen to the occasion, it is clear that we need higher levels of skilled migration to plug the gap of experienced professionals and help mentor the next generation of communicators.”

The National Skills Commission’s Internet Vacancy index demonstrated an 82% increase in vacancies for Public Relations Professionals from pre-COVID-19 (January 2020) to April 2022, and a 183% increase over the past decade.

“Securing PR and communications professionals’ place on the Long-Term Strategic Skills List will ensure that communicators – including those here already – have a pathway to permanent residency, create greater access to Visas and make Australia an attractive migration destination for communicators.”

The Migration Taskforce, comprised of supporters from over 15 communication agencies across Australia, will be responsible for advocating for changes to Australia’s migration settings and supporting with their skills and expertise.

“This Taskforce will not only help tackle our immediate skills crisis, but also play a critical role in bringing skilled professionals who can train and mentor the next generation of communicators who are currently training in our higher education institutions.

“We also wrote to Immigration Minister Giles to ask for their support of our industry and look forward to engaging with the review of the Skilled Occupations List that was funded in this year’s Federal Budget,” concluded Mr Allison.

The Migration Taskforce’s supporters include Sling & Stone; Herd MSL; Red Havas; Thrive PR; WE Communications; Ogilvy PR; Sefiani; The Haus; History Will Be Kind; Icon Agency; Porter Novelli; BCW; Keep Left; Agenda C; Salt & Shein and The Savage Company.

The PRIA has engaged EY to model the skills gaps across our occupation and to highlight the economic contribution of the Public Relations profession.

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