PRIA Professional Framework

Public relations and communication professionals have never had a formal roadmap in the same way that accountants and lawyers have. That is, we’ve never had universally agreed descriptions of our range of skills, nor documentation of those workplace experiences and pathways that lead us to the destination of our career choice. Up until now, who is and what a PR and communication professional ought to be able to do has gone undefined, unlike other professions.

Arguably, this has encouraged diversity and creativity of PR and Communication talent in Australia. I’m firmly of the belief that mapping our competencies will be a valuable reference for our profession, clarifying who we are and what we do.

Having a Professional Framework allows emerging practitioners to make informed decisions about future career directions, comparing their own existing strengths and identifying what competencies they need to develop to progress through each stage of their career. A Professional Framework could work similarly for senior managers wanting to diversify.

A common understanding of what level of experience and skills are required to fill a Senior Account Manager role or its in-house equivalent will be a useful reference for employers. Being able to benchmark skills and salaries will make the recruiter’s work easier too.

Lastly, a clear description of the work that professional communicators actually do will better inform their education and provide a greater degree of work readiness.

Click on the Professional Framework front cover image below to download the latest version.

In January 2015, the Federal Government required all VET and Tertiary education providers to comply with the Australian Qualifications Framework. I know how hard universities are working to meet this requirement. This also presents an enormous opportunity for the PRIA to align professional development with the AQF national standards.

You will notice that the AQF standards have been identified and aligned to each career level throughout this document to assist every professional in identifying where they are positioned in their career, what training and development they require to progress, and what employers should expect and provide support for employees. The PRIA is committed to setting professional development standards and assisting its members to maintain professional competencies.

The international communication community is working towards defining what knowledge, skills and personal qualities constitute ‘the PR and Communication Professional’ at successive stages of the career path. The Global Alliance, of which PRIA is a member, is in the process of integrating the competency systems of more than 60 countries – a task that should be completed within the next twelve months.

We are fortunate in Australia that the Registered Consultancies Group (RCG) has identified the need to have an over arching Framework for employers and employees alike. The Professional Framework will be the foundation document for all PR and Communication professionals in Australia to align career development, identify and address gaps in professional training, and to advance our profession in line with the evolutionary nature of required competencies and skills, and expectations of communication professionals as leaders. It is my hope that this work by the Public Relations Institute of Australia will inform and guide the development of global standards, to advance the profession and the public perception of this great work that we do.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank the working group members who have dedicated their expertise and valuable time to this project:

  • Jennifer Muir – Primary Communication;
  • Anthony Lowe – The Roxburgh Group;
  • Jeremy Wrench – Capstone Hill Search;
  • Elizabeth Marchant – Recognition PR; and
  • Julian Kenny – PRIA Education Manager.

We are confident that all PR and Communication practitioners will derive enormous benefit from their contributions. We commend this Professional Framework to all members as a reference that can guide our personal career path, the professional development of our staff and contribute to the success of our organisations.