Social Media the One Bright Spot for PR Hiring

Courtesy of Dean Meyers Flickr

While economists argue about whether we are now through the recession or whether we’re headed for a double dip, the Labor Market Outlook Report by the Society of Human Resource Management reports that 56% of their respondents expect job growth for the third quarter of 2010.  98% of U.S. companies say they plan to award base salary pay increases in 2011.

How is PR faring?

Executives polled in the The Creative Group Hiring Index for Marketing and Advertising Professionals said PR and marketing research top their list of new hires they plan to add in the next year. But the Simply Hired metro area job trend report shows that PR jobs are highly sought after by job seekers, putting PR high on the list for ‘most competitive jobs’ in a majority of the 15 cities they track.

One area in PR that is a bright spot in this tough hiring market is social media.  The biggest stumbling block to getting started with social media programs is a lack of resources and knowledge, say the majority of firms and already 59 percent of the Fortune Global 100 firms have invested in recruiting staff specifically assigned to core social media duties that include customer outreach, PR and marketing support and internal communications.

Online recruitment sites are being flooded with social medial positions. At the number of social-media job postings has increased by more than 600 percent, from roughly 3,000 in 2005 to 21,323 as of May 2010. Yahoo HotJobs has also seen a significant rise in positions with a social-media component, says a Newsweek article.

“Hiring managers, recruiters, and management staff are often confused on where they can find qualified social media professionals for corporate positions. They get a lot of resumes, but few are qualified,” says Jeremiah Owyang on his blog.

Owyang advises job seekers to hone there skills:

  1. Ability to formulate a social media strategy and fulfill business objectives.  It’s not just about how to use Facebook and Twitter.  You have to be able to craft a meaningful strategy that delivers results.
  2. How to apply your social media skills to both internal and external audiences.  You need to be able to use blogs, microblogs, social networks, RSS feeds and other tools to connect internal stakeholders as well as reach out to, and build a community with, your customers and other external audiences.
  3. Expertise with the technology.  Companies are fast realizing that personal use of these tools does not equate to expertise. You need to be able to show that you can learn and adapt new technologies to the business need.

Here are some of the key findings of the State of Social Media Jobs report:

•    The social media “laggard” sectors include: financial services & insurance; petroleum & energy and utilities. (NOTE:  Bulldog Reporter’s PR University has a half day webinar on October 15th specifically tailored to the needs of the financial services industry with speakers from ING,  Schwab and other institutions.)

•    The social media “active” sectors include: healthcare, telecommunications, retail and automotive.

•    The number of social media job postings has increased by more than 600 percent to over 21,000 in the past five years.

•    On average, social media salaries come in $5,000-10,000 lower than their traditional counterparts.

The good news is that social media salaries are on the rise and could close the gap within the next year.   So if you are in transition, eager to get into this new field or a recent PR graduate looking for a job in PR, get some social media training.