In yesterday’s post, I shared a letter I wrote in response to a PR Week Opinion article on the fact that young men aren’t entering PR. I also asked the question “Why aren’t young men entering PR” on LinkedIn to get perspectives from others who may not read my blog. Here are excerpts from a few of the responses that were shared there.
From my POV, I see a couple of issues impacting who goes into PR from college.
1) PR is not a route to the C-suite in MOST companies. The trend is changing in many organizations, but PR doesn’t report to the chairman/president and isn’t in that line of succession. Anyone planning that as a long term goal (as many college students do) will choose marketing or other routes.
2) This is a guess, but I would be interested in seeing what the percentages are for journalism students. I wonder if it’s the opposite. It seems that men who write well and ask thoughtful questions seem to start there before going into PR.
3) PR has a supportive and nurturing aspect. (Yes, I am a woman who is going to concede that some things are nature and some things are nurture.) This role is more comfortable for many women and not as comfortable for some men. NOTE: I said “many” and “some” not all. There are many exceptions.
4) Have you noticed that the C-suite in many large PR firms are held by men. They found a way there, but did it outside of the corporate world. Most of the general public still relates work roles to the corporate world, not the agency world. Thus, when college students are choosing majors, they go with what they know and their social group knows.
As a young Male PR professional I can agree with you that the men in PR are few and far between, but this I have always found gives me a unique selling point – I’m a man in a woman-dominated arena. I truly believe this gives me not only an advantage, but also gives me opportunities that some women may not.
All in all, those men in the PR sector will only benefit because like anything, if you’re slightly different, or have an edge that someone else doesn’t have, then the window of opportunity will always be open where it has closed so many times for others in the past.
My personal observations are that it’s not just men – college students of both genders are gravitating away from PR (I prefer strategic & organizational communications), and are seeking to work in fields such as new media, web and gaming content creation & design.
What the industry and educators need to address is how to incorporate teaching new media and new technologies into a gestalt education program for students who are considering or seek a degree in strategic & organizational communications. And excellent writing and presentation skills will never go out of vogue.
*Image from LinkedIn.com.