The Northern PR powerhouse

Ant and Dec have already featured in a #PRFest blog on diversity. I now want to take that theme a step further.

Is there a divide between the north and south in public relations?

There are two facets to this question.

#1 is the practice of PR as good in the north as it is in the south of the UK?

Answer, yes. And often better. We really are a Northern PR Powerhouse. (OK I’m biased!).

The second is harder to answer.

#2 Are graduates from northern universities able to take up opportunities in London and the south east?

The initial response is, ‘I’m not sure”. I have some understanding gleaned from my teaching experience on Newcastle, Sunderland and Sheffield degree programmes. My experience is that where the student’s family is able to support a move south, either financially or by offering accommodation, this is possible.

However, I have heard tales of people who are working on unpaid internships or in roles with salaries barely above expenses.

A growing divide

My instinct is that there is a growing divide between those who can make the move and those who cannot. PR is not alone in this. I hear similar concerns within the legal, marketing and financial professions.

Does this matter? I believe it does. Without mobility of students from across the UK, we are in danger of seeing PR only through a London lens.

We need a variety of voices and backgrounds in PR if we are to add a breadth and depth of value to the work we do. Industry experts are talking about the shortage of skills and expertise. We cannot afford to overlook talent that is just 300 miles up the road.

Graduate PR job hunting

Now before you charge me with being a winging Geordie, I have put down the cloth cap and the whippet is in the bath. With my pint of Newcassel Broon by my side, I took my own advice.

How do I know? I am doing some research with colleagues in universities and with students. It is not a comprehensive survey but it is sufficiently robust to paint a picture of graduate PR job hunting today.

By the time June arrives I will have some results. Will I be proved right? I don’t know. But I do know that we should have a clearer picture of what it is like to be “Young, gifted and ….northern”

I’m looking forward to debating this with the #PRFest community.

Guest blog by speaker Sally Keith @fulbeck

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