Chartered PR status still isn’t respected as much as in other professions

Respect for chartered PR professionals has increased and provides a competitive career edge

A new study from the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) and Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) shows chartered status has value, but not as much as in other professions.

The ‘Value of Chartership‘ study reveals 39% of practitioners believe the level of respect amongst chartered professionals in the public relations and industries has improved in the last decade. However, the majority (72%) believe respect remains low in comparison to other professions, such as accountancy or engineering.

Despite this, the report finds it can provide a competitive edge for PR and marketing professionals.

  • 43% argue it is very important for careers
  • 31% state being chartered provides them with an edge to win new business
  • 15 per cent have been able to demand a higher salary or increase their rates because of their chartership status

The ‘Value of Chartership’ study also explores the importance of continuing professional development (CPD), with 72 per cent of respondents agreeing that regularly upskilling is crucial in order to progress their career. I’d love to know how the other 28% think they can be even vaguely competent if they don’t constantly learn and upskill. It’s alarming to think that such people exist.

I am a chartered PR professional, so I am able to use Chart.PR after my name. My anecdotal experience of holding chartership status is that the value depends greatly on the industry sector and country. In sectors that have large proportions of chartered professionals, or qualifications and CPD are the norm, then chartered status and proving CPD with accreditation has a lot of value.

It’s not automatic as you have to make sure the people you work with know you are chartered and your professionalism is every bit as rigorous as their professionalism. If you don’t, they will simply assume you’re just like every other fluffy PR person who has drifted into the career from journalism or elsewhere without bothering to train or qualify. There are too many people claiming to do public relations, when in reality they are simply publicists or one trick ponies only able to do a small part of the job, such as media relations or social media.

A lot of my work is overseas, and it’s interesting that I’ve observed chartered status is seen as far more prestigious and important in many countries than it is the United Kingdom. This is particularly true in Commonwealth countries, but I’ve also observed it in places like the USA and Eastern Europe.

CIPR CEO Alastair McCapra observes that: “Compared to other sectors, our industries have the advantage of low barriers of entry into the profession but a disadvantage in the number of qualified and professionally accredited professionals. We know what we do delivers value and so do our clients, but research shows a continued lack of collective confidence.” 

My personal recommendation to any public relations professional thinking about becoming chartered is just do it. What’s your excuse for not doing it? You should be doing continuous professional development anyway as anyone not constantly learning and improving isn’t fit to or capable of advising employers or clients. What you might not be doing is logging and reporting that CPD. It’s a bit of a pain, but won’t take you more than a few hours a year. After a couple of years logging it then you can attend a Chartership Day and see if you’re good enough to qualify.

Once you are a chartered PR professional then don’t expect it to magically make a difference to the success of your career. It’s up to you to make the effort to get clients and employers to understand the value. If you don’t think it has value to you, then that’s mainly your fault.

That said, I do think the CIPR and CIM could make more effort to promote the value of chartered status. But that’s exactly what they are doing with this research.

The research respondents were 311 chartered practitioners in the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) and the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM).

The Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) is the world’s only Royal Chartered professional body for public relations practitioners. The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) has more than 20,000 members in more than 100 countries.

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