Skills gaps, career progression, leadership competencies

When PR Academy first surveyed its students about their status and views on professional qualifications at the end of 2010, the results indicated a link between career progression and holding a professional qualification. Four years later this appears to be a continuing trend with three quarters of the respondents who participated in this year’s survey indicating that their qualification has led to career progression or that they are confident it will.

For our fourth annual study, published today and covered in PRWeek, we introduced some new questions regarding skills gaps. These included what skills gap respondents would choose to address in the next 12 months and what communications skills they think business leaders need to have. For a bit of fun we also asked people to name the business leader who for them has standout communications skills. You might be surprised by some of the results.

We would like to thank the 104 members of our alumni who participated in this year’s study – and hope you find the results of interest.

Highlights from this year’s survey:

    • Three quarters of respondents (75%) indicated that holding a professional qualification has led to career progression or that they are confident it will this year
    • The most commonly elected knowledge/skills gap this year with almost 50% choosing it was Measurement
    • However, when asked which one skills gap they would address in the next 12 months, most students (almost one in five) identified Digital communications/social media
    • The same proportion of respondents (63%) as last year indicated that they continue to enjoy access to funding for qualifications through their employer
    • But 37% of respondents said that training budgets have been cut or frozen by their organisation over the past four years
    • The number of respondents who indicated they have a first degree has remained consistently high at more than 70% over the past four years
    • Asked to select the comms skills a leader needs to have, and respondents’ top choice was “motivating” (83%)
    • Asked which modern leader has standout communications skills and the most commonly cited leader to this open-ended question was Barak Obama, President of the United States. The next most popular choice was English business magnate and investor Sir Richard Branson, followed by Nelson Mandela, South Africa's first post-apartheid president and Nobel Peace Prize winner.


A copy of the survey is available here on PR Place.

*About the research

This is the fourth year that PR Academy has run its annual Qualifications for Communicators Trends Survey to find out more about its students’ status and views on professional qualifications. The survey was first conducted at the end of 2010 with the results published in Q1 2011. In the fourth of its annual studies, in addition to asking the same core questions, PR Academy introduced some new questions regarding skills gaps. These included what skills gap respondents would choose to address in the next 12 months and what communications skills they think business leaders need to have. The fourth and most recent wave of the report was conducted online using Survey Monkey in December 2013. The results are based on 104 respondents – all are past and present students of PR Academy.

 

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About the author

Ann Pilkington

Ann is a co-founder of PR Academy, a leading provider of public relations and communication education.  Her special areas of interest are internal communication and project communication.

“One of my interests is communication on projects, an area that is often overlooked which is what prompted me to write my book on the subject.  I think that the world of PR and communication can benefit from understanding the principles of project management and vice versa. I am on a mission to create greater understanding on both sides!"


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