From the Federal Education Minister suggesting that public relations skills aren’t "job relevant" in his university funding overhaul, to the Straits Times finding
that Social Media Manager / PR Specialist are amongst the top five non-essential jobs, public relations has had a tough week.
The fact remains, that communications and public relations is more essential than ever.
It’s the teams of communicators, social media managers and designers who were behind the public health messaging which has saved thousands of lives during COVID-19. It’s the tireless staff of the emergency management offices who communicated warnings during the bushfire crisis. It’s the staff who wrote the Education Minister’s speech and media releases where he announced the skills which they used weren’t actually "job relevant."
In society today, clear, cogent and compelling communications are more relevant than ever. Governments, brands and organisations seeking to influence the body public in any way rely on these skills to achieve their outcomes. Governments rely on these skills to get themselves elected.
That’s not to say that communicators live in a vacuum. We rely on the hard work of others on the front lines to deliver the services and events which we communicate about, but that doesn’t make us non-essential. That just means we’re part of the essential services which every single one of these front-line workers deliver.
The Public Relations Institute of Australia supports sensible policy reform to stimulate employment, but we don’t want the futures of young Australians to be socially engineered and forced into the "favoured’ careers", like agriculture and maths, which are the flavour of the political month.
Public relations is definitely essential, and the skills that we use on a daily basis are more job relevant than ever.
Go on Mr Tehan, let’s see a maths graduate carefully craft your next announcement.
Leigh McClusky, National President, PRIA