ADVOCACY UPDATE: Building our PR Workforce

Thu, Oct 04 2018

The PRIA is committed to finding solutions for the PR and Communication industries skilled workforce shortages.

The profession is experiencing its lowest unemployment levels since the GFC.

Competition for talent in the 3-7-years’ experience bracket is at the most critical level for consultancy and in-house roles.

Factors contributing to the shortage which need to be immediately addressed include:

  • a reduced talent pipeline coming through formal education pathways from high schools into our universities and training programs, fewer young people choosing public relations and communication as a career option,
  • the diversification of our traditional skilled professional workforce into other areas or specialities,
  • reduced capacity in Australia’s skilled visa regime for public relations and communication professionals, and
  • no formal alliances with regional countries to strengthen education and workforce capacity sharing to increase the availability of professionals.

The PRIA has prioritised four projects on behalf of its members and the industry.

Skilled Visa requirements for the PR and Communication profession.
Immediate – October to December 2018

Under the Australia Government’s new skilled visa program there are six-monthly reviews of the skills/occupation list to determine the professions/occupations which are eligible for special work visas.

Last year one of the two PR occupations was removed without consultation by the Australian Government. PRIA is working on the urgent requirement to restore skilled communication migration to at least previous levels. There is a critical gap in skilled professionals in our industry.

The PRIA Registered Consultancy Group (RCG) has prioritised this issue as key to business sustainability and growth. Two rounds of PRIA submissions to Government seeking to reverse their decision on the Skilled Occupation List have been finalised.

The Departments of Employment and Immigration recognise the PRIA as the peak body for the profession and are now urging the PRIA to look at a different path allow higher volumes of skilled communication migration. This involves an industry labour agreement, instead of restoring the extra occupation to the list.

A very detailed business case and application are being developed. If granted, the PRIA could act as the authority for this agreement so that members can service their skilled migration requirements.

The current PRIA working group, led by the Registered Consultancy Group (RCG), will represent all employers across business, non-profit, consultancy and government sectors to gather input and support for this critical project over the next few months.

Federal Government PwC Skills Council review of qualifications for business courses including public relations and communication.
Immediate – mid 2019

The PRIA is participating in the industry advisory group for the PwC Business skills review project, scheduled from August 2018 to mid-2019. This is a Federal Government project to review the future skills and capabilities our profession will need in five and 10 years’ time so that Universities and formal training institutes are providing the best education options.

This project is mandated by the Australian Government to review the qualifications and competencies to ensure that they are fit for future education and training needs for the business, marketing, advertising and public relations industries.

The PwC Business Skills project will review all elements of the business qualifications within the recognised PR, communication and marketing courses for RTO’s and TAFE. Once adopted, settings will guide policy, investment and alignment of the qualifications across Universities for the next five years.

To appropriately engage in this project, the PRIA will establish a working group made up of representatives who have a knowledge and expertise in training, education and professional development from the PRIA’s senior members, Board members and appropriate committees like the RCG, the Education Community Committee and Fellows.

In the current federal government qualification model, the hierarchy and sub sets are business, marketing and PR and Communication as a subset of skills within marketing. This PwC Business Skills project will also look at the hierarchy of business education, and whether public relations and communication should continue to sit in a subservient position to marketing and advertising.

ASEAN PR Network – extending our partnership to establish informal and formal links with ASEAN countries.
Immediate – December 2019

The PRIA and the ASEAN PR Network is working to establish informal and formal education and employment pathways for the mutual benefit of our countries and profession.

This builds upon the existing relationship between the peak groups which was formalised late in 2017. The partnership has the potential to open up opportunities across education and professional development, workforce and skilled migration, and business development opportunities.

The next formal meeting between the two organisations will be held in October 2018 and a project scope is being developed. Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs’ ASEAN-Australian mission will be consulted to guide the development of this project using formal trade and investment platforms.

The PRIA will share the project scope and timeline with all members for consultation and initial participation.

Professional Framework – Competency, professional development and salary table.
Immediate – October 2018

The PRIA will be updating the Professional Framework with a new salary table drawn from the latest industry data. Updates will also include adjustments to the minimum age wage levels recently adjusted by the Fair Work Commission.  which impacts the PRIA’s policy for Internships and entry level roles. This project is due to be completed by the end of October 2018.

If any member wishes to find out more information about these projects, or would like to participate please contact the Immediate Past President, Jenny Muir who is coordinating these advocacy projects.

Many thanks,

Jenny Muir
Immediate Past President, PRIA Board member


Please contact PRIA National Office on 02 9331 3346 or email if you have any questions.