Strong preconceptions still exist about roles within PR and communications agencies but many of these are now outdated. Given the current unpredictable market conditions, and the fact that many clients specifically request candidates with agency experience, it makes good sense for communications professionals to have agencies on their radar.
There’s no question that agency life can be busy. In representing a portfolio of accounts and stakeholders there are a multitude of demands on your time and there will be days when everything happens at once and teams are working at full capacity. However, the ‘treadmill’ view that it’s all work and no play is misplaced. The fact that so many agencies appear in lists of the best places to work in the UK is testament to this.
Agencies represent some of the world’s highest profile brands and, like the companies they work for, they have evolved to become far more sophisticated in how they service their clients. Considering that communications today covers topics as diverse as reputation management, branding, crisis communications, digital and social media, as well as everything in between, it is apparent that agencies offer a brilliant platform for career growth.
Having agency and in-house experience is always advantageous and generally speaking, it can be easier to make the transition from agency to in-house rather than vice versa. So for all you communications professionals focusing your search purely on in-house roles, stop. Think about the product or sector that you most enjoy and take a look at the agencies that service them. The perfect job may be there for you.
The value of using agency expertise is increasingly being recognised by businesses. In fact, there are very few FTSE listed and blue-chip companies that don’t have agency support. For many companies outsourcing communications activity to an agency is a practical and effective solution for when facing streamlining and department cuts. Budgets might be tight and agency retainers may have to be negotiated, but in our world of instant exposure there’s no denying the need for expertise. One of the leading social media companies in the UK now uses an agency to handle its press relations. For communications professionals wanting to hone their media relations skills what could be a better training ground? The demand is there and as such, agency roles may prove much more recession proof than in-house.