“A lot was taken away from us, but the market was not taken away”

On April 18, a round table on the topic “Personnel for the communication industry – development tracks” was held in the hall of the Academic Council of the RSUH (Moscow).

The organizers: the Communication Agency “GlavSovetnik”, “Interium” Digital Agency and the Association of Managers

The participants – representatives of the PR industry from the relevant associations, agencies and clients,as well as specialized faculties of universities – expressed restrained optimism about the prospects of the industry.

“We thought it was a rough patch, but it was an easy one”, — this is how Vadim Kovalev, First Deputy Executive Director of the Association of Managers, described the current situation in the PR and communications market in Russia.

How to save and support the team in a crisis? The pandemic, lockdowns, and the current geopolitical aggravation are factors that have a huge negative impact on the state of the communication sphere. But the industry cannot influence them.

Here are the data from the research of the Communication Agency “GlavSovetnik”, conducted with the support of HeadHunter.

“In total, the heads of more than 120 agencies of the communications industry took part in the study.More than 90% of communication agencies noted that the communication industry is undergoing changes. First of all, they are associated with difficulties in finding new clients (70.73%), a reduction inthe budgets of current clients (68.29%) and a decrease in the number of clients (65.85%)”, Boris Molodov, Managing Partner of the “GlavSovetnik”, announced the research data.

“36% of respondents claim that they will not lay off staff, but will suspend the recruitment of new specialists. Cuts, while retaining top employees, are expected to be in 28% of agencies. In 66% of communication companies they do not plan to reduce salaries, and in 33% do plan to do so, but only fora while”.

Data from HeadHunter suggests that after February 24, the number of vacancies in the specialty”Marketing, advertising, BTL, design, Event, PR agencies” decreased to 9,277, and the number of resumes in the professional area “Marketing, advertising, PR” increased to 93,276. And this, as VadimKovalev noted, is happening in a demographic hole.

Tough competition in the labor market dictates matching requirements for potential employees. This is also a problem. The participants of the round table note the insufficient qualifications of graduates of specialized universities in combination with their excessive requirements for a potential employer.Hence the staff turnover and unnecessary emotions in an already tense situation.

Most of the market professionals who took part in the round table formulate the basic requirements for specialists in this way:

• ability to create and develop content;

• fast response;

• strategic thinking;

• a broad outlook that allows you to adapt to a rapidly changing situation.

Representatives of universities expressed their desire to train personnel who keep pace or even outstrip the demands of the industry. But such training is impossible without practitioners – managers and experts of the largest communication agencies of Russia.

Despite everything, new prospects are opening up for the communication sphere today. After all, intimes of crisis, the role of communication between people only increases. It is a lofty mission; it is a goal and a spirit. Dmitry Frolov, President and Founder of the Association for the Development of Digital-Agencies ARDA, said: “It is very important to show young people that the profession has a future.”

All participants of the discussion agreed that the future of PR personnel is in the search for new directions of development, and PR education is looking for new formats. For ambitious young people,there is no end to the work. For example, in the regions. Tatiana Smirnova, Director of the Public Relations Department of MMC Norilsk Nickel, said “If a young specialist is not afraid of serious work inthe region, there are many opportunities for him or her”. In the regions, the communication sphere is often in its infancy. If you and your ambitions are not focused on two capitals of Russia, then success is guaranteed for you.

And universities are also interested in this. As confirmed by the vice-rector of RSUH, Irakli Balkvadze, the employment of graduates is now one of the most important criteria for evaluating the work of the university management.

Speaking about standardization in the communications industry, Valery Sidorenko, CEO of the“Interium” Digital Agency, noted the need to introduce a Glossary of the digital communications industry into all educational processes.

“Such a Glossary has already been developed by a working group in the Association of Public Relations Consulting Companies (AKOS) and needs to be actively implemented, while working on other standards necessary for the industry. The unity of terminology will allow both the customer and the contractor tospeak the same language and understand the tasks of communication campaigns and projects in thesame way”, commented Valery Sidorenko.

The discussion was concluded by Boris Molodov, Managing Partner of the Communication Agency“GlavSovetnik”, who proposed to formulate theses and criteria of professional training of industry specialists for specialized universities, taking into account the requirements of employers. These theses will become the basis for training future specialists for specific practical work in Russian conditions.

The full study “Personnel situation in the communications industry” can be found at the link.

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