What challenges do millennials in PR face?

Starting today, PRmoment India will feature the hopes and dreams, the unique challenges and work aspirations of millennials working in PR the last week of every month. Called “Soapbox”, this is your space to express yourself! Enjoy the first story on issues faced by millennials at work.

PR seen as a cost centre, lack of mentoring 

Millennials are the lifeblood of the workforce of most businesses, including PR. What are their challenges, hopes and aspirations? What’s life like as a PR millennial? We go straight to the source and ask them.

Ekta Gautam, corporate communications team, Flipkart

Ekta Gautam, currently with the corporate communications team at e-tail giant Flipkart has spent 7 years at the agency end. Gautam says the problems that millennials in a PR team remains that of perception, of being seen as a cost center, “The biggest issue is with how people value PR and its contribution – clients (when I was in PR agencies) and now senior team (while am in corporate communications). I do understand that PR does not generate revenue, but it is equally critical as it builds reputation, which is important to commanding a premium and customer mind space. It is what helps establish an identity distinct from competition thus giving an edge to the brand”.

Adds Gautam, “The other major challenge that I see is the huge gap between what we intend to achieve and what we have been able to achieve. This gap between planning and results is because our performance or execution of the plan is dependent on someone else, and many a times it is fraught with bias. I have seen many a good plans and strategies turning out to be a flop because the execution failed.”

Divya Singh, 20: 20 MSL recommends not being afraid to ask for a raise backed by examples of good work

For Divya Singh, account manager with 20: 20 MSL a sense of restlessness and impatience comes with the territory of being a millennial. She says, “I would constantly follow-up with my seniors or clients to approve documents or call up journalists right after e-mailing them and expecting them to have seen and read my mails.”

Singh also found the multiple reporting structure tough to handle saying,” I would end up struggling to meet similar deadlines from my managers. Being shy, I never really complained. But I remember one evening walking into my Branch Manager’s cabin and asking, “How do I manage them?” And he told me, “Just focus on good work and manage your time well. They will be fine.” He was right in a way.”

While some millennials are focused on overcoming the issues at work, for others work-life balance is what matters.

Rachit Dua wishes his PR job gave him more time to hit the gym

Rachit Dua, senior account executive, Quirkyiens Marketing Solutions  acknowledges that looking good matters in PR and feels that, “ Working in a PR job its really important to maintain yourself and be in good shape. But, starting early for the office and the extended working hours due to the deadlines; often hampers my fitness regime”

Coping with integrated PR

The pressure of servicing integrated PR demands often falls on the millennials.

Richa Jaggi, who also has a micro blog on food and lifestyle “creamandcrackle” feels it’s an exciting time to be in PR and see this change.

Richa Jaggi, Zeno, says that, “ Our PR plan takes into account not only a press office but also what can we do in social, content and with the influencers. I look into what the client ask is and see how they can fit into a different kind of media channel versus the conventional ones and if the messaging it correct.”

Dealing with work challenges

Divya Singh has an interesting list of recommendations for fellow millennials. First of all, she says, “Find a mentor at work, preferably someone senior who has been in the company for 3+ years.”

“Secondly, if you think you are not paid enough, ask for it, but before that, please ensure you have some great work to showcase.”

Lastly, Singh has a tough love suggestion, saying, “If you are not happy or fail to do usual day-to-day tasks, please analyze if you are in the right job. More often than not, many later realize they were in the wrong job and want to quit because they are frustrated.”

Singh also recommends identifying what skills are lacking and grabbing the chance for up skilling.

A point Preeti Binoy, Edelman India, agrees with and wishes that, “Education institutes offering PR courses could keep up with the changes in the industry in order to prepare students for the challenges at the work place. All courses in PR and media should incorporate a range of skills for digital media.”

Gautam says the perception issue for PR is one of the biggest challenges to fix, “Unfortunately, bias is very difficult to overcome and I do not see how we can work around it except to build stronger relationships on merit.”

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