Automotive PR has got talent but needs more

We might not be looking for juggling dogs or child singers, but the search for talent in automotive public relations is just as keen as in any reality talent show.

One of the services we offer free of charge to MIPAA members is JobSearch.  This aims to link together those with vacancies in automotive PR and the talent of our members.

This could be a tricky area since the job-hunters are often already working for other MIPAA members, but a pragmatic perspective prevails, fortunately.

In the past few months, we’ve been approached to promote a number of really great jobs – and this doesn’t look like changing.  In the last week, I’ve uploaded three new roles:

  • Communications Manager launching the Infiniti brand into UK and Ireland
  • PR Executive at the Institute of the Motor Industry
  • Communications Assistant/Specialist for Dunlop Tyres UK

As a result of other job moves in the industry, there are a number of other positions also about to become vacant.  The challenge now is to attract the talent – and particularly to bring in new lifeblood alongside those who already have knowledge and skills gained in the autoworld.

We have a good track record in attracting graduates thanks to investment in placement students in recent years.  Our training workshops and Accelerate mentoring programme also work well at this entry level.  We have recognised, as David Brain recently said:

Young talent is the life blood of the creative and professional or financial service businesses that make up the bulk of most European urban economies.

What is even more important is developing hot shot talent to take up more senior management positions.  We need the skills and credentials to present PR more strategically moving beyond the traditional automotive PR strengths in specialist media relations.  If we don’t then PR will be subsumed within marketing and not recognised as able to provide a vital strategic function focusing on the 3Rs of reputation, relationships, and risk management.

This is an area we are going to focus on more and more with MIPAA.  I’m about to undertaken research with our more senior members to develop a training and mentoring framework to help develop talent at this higher level.

Of course we must continue to attract young people and offer development programmes at their level, but I believe the real challenge in PR at the moment is to attract and support top-level talent. 

Any thoughts and ideas on doing this would be most welcome…

Published by

Heather Yaxley PhD

Dr. Heather Yaxley is passionate about sustainable careers, reflective practice and professional development. I am a rhizomatic educator, practitioner, consultant, academic and scholar. As a qualified academic, I teach the CIPR professional qualifications with PR Academy and have experience teaching at various Universities. I run the Motor Industry Public Affairs Association (MIPAA) and my own strategic consultancy. I was awarded by PhD researching Career Strategies in Public Relations by Bournemouth University in 2017. I'm a published author, with books, chapters and academic papers to my name.

4 thoughts on “Automotive PR has got talent but needs more”

  1. I think you are right in pinpointing the importance of this Helen. My experience is that at the moment the industry has a pretty good reputation with people graduating . . at least much better than a few years ago. We seem to have no problem getting hold of great intake level people. What I worry about is losing them after a couple of years as the incredible work rate and (compared to say law or banking) comparatively modest earning scenario dawns on them.

  2. David – thanks. Some research one of my former CIPR Diploma students did with first year PR undergrads showed a large percentage don’t start out seeing a long-term career in the profession even. The great skills you learn in PR are highly transferrable, which as you say ensures that careers with a lighter work rate and more money seem attractive.

  3. CPD seems to be high on the agenda in lots of professions. Is there an untapped source of great development opportunities for employees to mentor people? It may be a case of who mentors the mentors? Maybe folk are scared they won’t be able to mentor?

    The Samaritans have a job recruiting veolunteers, different scenario I know, and I wrote a feature about who helps the helpers.

    Plus, making it attractive and of course pushing the ‘what’s in it for me?’ angle instead of them pulling it out of wherever it is promoted.

    Just my thoughts.

  4. Jill – I’m not sure that looking at mentoring within organisations is the best approach given that people don’t have long-term careers anywhere much these days. Another problem is that training and development has been affected by budget constraints in many organisations.

    So for me, there is an opportunity for personal development, within our own control. Bodies like MIPAA and CIPR can help, especially with career mentors. Andy Green has an idea about building a network of contacts who are there to support you in different ways in your career too.

    I also believe that mentoring is a two way street, in terms of the WIIFM angle. So we should look to mentor others but also think about how we offer a benefit to our mentor – at least in the feelgood factor.

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