Mind the comms skills gaps…

How are your crisis comms skills? What about public affairs? These areas are the top skills gaps identified by professional communicators in PR Academy’s latest annual trends survey.

They’ve just released their findings and I’m not surprised by the results. They show digital communication/social media is the one skills gap most respondents said they’d like to address in the next 12 months, followed by measurement.

All Things IC social media training I’ve seen an increase in clients hiring me to work alongside their teams to train them in digital knowledge and skills, and conduct internal communication audits. It’s a pleasure to help organisations and individuals achieve communication excellence, and I enjoy this type of consultancy.

Only last week I ran two training sessions – for a client’s Board and Comms team, about all things social media related (pictured).

I’m launching training courses from All Things IC this year. The first one is an introduction to internal communication and will be happening in London in the Summer. More info coming soon. Do get in touch if you’d like to register your interest as places will be limited.

What are the skills gaps in your team?

Further reading: I’m currently conducting a short survey with the CIPR to ask IC pros about their roles and skills gaps. It’s going to be featured in the Spring issue of Influence magazine. I’d love you to contribute and have your say please, it will only take a few minutes to complete.

There are links to articles at the end of this one to help you improve in your current role. You’re welcome to share your thoughts via the comments or Tweet me @AllthingsIC.

Why did PR Academy survey students?
The annual survey aims to find out more about PR Academy students’ views, as practising communicators, on professional qualifications, their professional experiences, and their resulting training needs and priorities.

PR Academy is one of the largest providers of public relations qualifications in the UK, with almost 1,000 people choosing to learn with them each year.

For the sixth edition, the survey was extended in order to look at how communicators perceive their employers’ use of social media, and whether influencing senior managers/clients about the value that PR has as a strategic function is a significant challenge for them.

I welcome the news more funding is being made available by employers to invest in comms training. Finally!

annAnn Pilkington, (pictured), one of PR Academy’s founding directors says: “Perhaps it’s no surprise that crisis communication is one of the top skills gaps – there have been some pretty high-profile crises in the past year making it top of mind for many communicators.

“Many respondents said influencing senior managers about the value of PR remains a challenge. Managing a crisis is one thing, but what we really want is to avoid it in the first place and PR can help here, acting as the eyes and ears of the organisation and ensuring that thinking about reputation is business as usual.  Making this happen means having influence in the organisation.

“For me, the first step to having influence is having confidence in one’s own advice and that is what many of our students say that they gain from a qualification.  Knowing that there is research and theory out there that underpins a particular approach makes a world of difference to many of the practitioners that we work with.

The trends survey also found:

  • 85% of respondents claim that holding a professional qualification has led to career progression, or they are confident that it will.
  • More respondents than ever before are studying to improve their career prospects – 83% in 2015 vs. 60% in 2010.

The research for the sixth edition of the survey was conducted online using Survey Monkey in January 2016, with students being asked to reflect on the past 12 months. The results are based on 106 respondents and includes past and present students of PR Academy.

You can see the whole set of results below and online.

Further reading via the All Things IC blog:

How to conduct crisis communications (including snow comms)
Crisis comms checklist
Free crisis comms and social media skills guide, podcast and video
How many social media platforms do you know?
How the BBC defines its social media policy
How to use Pinterest for internal communication

A guide to Twitter for comms pros
How to use Google Analytics
How to achieve social media strategy success
Read 160+ social media policies
Your top 15 questions on social media and the law… answered
How to write an internal communication strategy
How to learn about internal communication
How to create an internal comms strategy from scratch
What’s the point of organisational purpose?
Where’s internal communication headed in 2016?
How to enter comms awards
How to simplify your intranet
How to conduct an internal comms audit

PR Academy’s results:





First published on the All Things IC blog on 7 March 2016.


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