The July 21 issue of PR Week included an opinion piece by Tom Martin, a communications professor at the College of Charleston in South Carolina, titled “With a lack of men entering PR, we need new ideas for recruiting.” In it, Tom cites a PRSA member survey that puts the male/female ratio at about 9-to-1.
I sent an e-mail to Tom last week sharing my reaction to his story and he responded by asking if he could print my response as a letter in PR Week. I wanted to share it with you, as well, and get your thoughts on the issue.
I appreciated your thoughtful opinion piece in PR Week calling attention to the lack of men entering PR. As a man, it’s something I’ve noticed for a while, even back to my days in college, where in most of my senior-level PR classes I was the lone male.
I see the same today as I visit college campuses to speak at PR classes. For example, I recently visited a senior PR campaigns class as a judge for student campaign presentations. In a class of probably 35 students, there were two men. In April, I headed back to my alma mater to interview PR students for internship positions at my agency. I met with a LOT of students that day, 95 percent of whom were PR majors. Of that 95 percent, I met one man.
It’s also noticeable when I look around our industry. Whether it’s at PRSA luncheons or within my own department, I find myself asking myself “where are the guys?!” At a time when the marketing industry is rightfully focused on the lack of diversity in our ranks and implementing efforts to raise the number of minorities in our business, it’s interesting that no one else has talked about gender diversity.
Well, that’s not exactly right. I hear a lot of conversation about the fact that a majority of PR executives are men and that women in our industry are under a glass ceiling. Based on my own personal observations, I’m seeing more women in leadership roles today than even five years ago. That’s encouraging news and a very good thing for PR. But I’ve never heard anyone discuss the dwindling number of men in general, race aside, entering our field.
Is this issue on your radar? Do you think it’s important to attract more young men into the field? Should it be a major focus for our industry ? Why or why not?
*Image by Ben Brown.