Annual Trends Survey reveals skills gaps

About the author

Ann is a co-founder of PR Academy. Her special areas of interest are internal communication, change management and project communication. MSc, Dip CAM, MCIPR

We first introduced our annual ‘Qualifications for Communicators Trends Survey’ in 2010 to find out more about our students and what they think about professional qualifications.

Being a trends survey we need to ask the same core questions each year, but this time we asked a few extra things. We asked our alumni to tell us what they think their current skills gaps are.  More than half (52%) identified digital communications, followed by strategic planning (46%), and measurement (44%).

Considering the top three skills gaps, it is perhaps unsurprising that when asked to identify the specialist qualifications they would be interested in studying that respondents identified digital communications (68%), followed by measurement (56%) and project communications (56%).

Digital comms is still a relatively new and emerging area of communications practice and so you might expect to see this cited as a skills gap. However, strategic planning and measurement have been the Achilles’ heel (or heels) of communications disciplines for some time now. So the fact that practitioners recognise this and want to address these gaps through qualifications can only be a good thing.

We thought we would ask Barry Leggetter, Executive Director of the International Association of Measurement and Evaluation of Communication (AMEC), for his response to the report:

“All PR professionals know they need to prove what they are doing is working. However, measurement is now assuming a deeper importance with its ability to show the business benefits of PR activity. While we’ve known this for some time, it is only relatively recently that important steps have been taken with the introduction of the ‘Barcelona Principles’ framework and launch of the AMEC International Certificate in Measurement and Evaluation. The results of this survey around skills gaps and specialist qualifications are reassuring in that they highlight a growing awareness of the importance of measurement and a desire to learn more about this subject.”

The survey also shows:

    • Confidence that having a qualification will lead to career progression is holding, with 37% of respondents indicating this in our latest survey compared with 36% last year
    • That almost two thirds (63%) of respondents continue to enjoy access to funding for qualifications through their employer, but that an increasing number (11% this year compared with 3% in 2010) don’t know if funding is available through their employer
    • That to “Enhance my skills” has remained the top reason for studying for a qualification for the past three years, but that the second key motivation, “To Improve career prospects”, has jumped from fourth place last year to second place this year.

Do have a look at the full report and see if you agree. Let us know what you think. A huge thank you of course to everyone who took part in the research.

About the research

The survey was conducted online using Survey Monkey in December 2012.  One hundred and twenty respondents – all past and present students of PR Academy – took part in the survey.