PR Expert Slams Universities For Failing Industry Graduates

Group of graduate students throwing graduation hats to the sky.
SHARE
THIS



Graduates in the areas of communications and public relations (PR) can’t find jobs, are poorly trained and some are exploited by employers, according to the head of an Aussie PR firm.

Lyall Mercer, managing director of Mercer PR, said he agrees with recent comments made to news.com.au by Vicki Thomson, CEO of Group of Eight (which represents Australia’s eight major universities), that the tertiary education system is letting students down and pumping out graduates with “broken dreams and a large student debt”.

“Many graduates are forced into other industries, work in less qualified roles or move interstate or overseas because there are so few PR jobs available,” Mercer said.

“Maybe it’s time for the universities to be honest with students about the chances of landing a job in this industry.”

Mercer also believes universities are failing to properly train graduates, and said graduates he employs openly admit they learned very little about their industry at uni.

“Students are graduating with very little knowledge about the world of PR and no interest in news and current affairs, which affects their employment chances particularly in the corporate PR field,” he said.

“They are given a degree, yet most can’t write a media release, many have poor grammar and communications skills, and they have no idea about even the basics of public relations.

“Several graduates I spoke to recently had never heard of organisations like [the] Associated Press or other major news agencies, which is unbelievable. You have to question what they are learning.”

Mercer said the negative experiences of graduates are made worse by some employers within the industry, which can exploit them with unpaid internships that provide little or no value.

“I’m sure some internships are valid and worthwhile, but others are nothing more than illegal, unpaid work,” he said.

“I know of one person who worked as an unpaid intern over a nine-month period doing the same work as paid staff.

“Other interns get put in a corner and told to file papers, which provides no benefit whatsoever.”

Mr Mercer said universities could consider working more closely with PR companies to provide better real-world education, and those employers who offer unpaid internships should make them short-term and structured.

Latest News

Diversity Case Study Series: OMD
  • Advertising
  • Marketing
  • Media

Diversity Case Study Series: OMD

One need only look at the Cadbury Favourites chocolate selection to know it has nought to do with industry diversity.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
m2m Drives Away With $51m Hyundai Media Account
  • Media

m2m Drives Away With $51m Hyundai Media Account

Media agency m2m has been awarded the Hyundai media planning and buying account. The agency, under Omnicom Media group, was up against incumbent Initiative and Havas, with Hyundai’s Innocean Australia handling the pitch process. Speaking to B&T, a Hyundai spokesperson said, “We’d like to thank Initiative for their sterling service over the last 10 years – […]

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Adland Execs To Be Locked Up
  • Media

Adland Execs To Be Locked Up

Continuing adland's fascination with prison when it comes to charitable causes comes this latest trip to the slammer.

Australian Directors’ Guild Announces Mentorship Winners
  • Campaigns
  • Media

Australian Directors’ Guild Announces Mentorship Winners

Now in its second year, the Australian Directors’ Guild’s (ADG) Commercial & Content Directing Mentorship program announced its next round of eight mentoree recipients. The winners were announced at a special event held last night at FINCH, Sydney and attended by members of the screen and advertising industries. Acclaimed director, and ADG President, Samantha Lang, […]

Eyeota Deep Dives Into Australian Automotive Purchase Behaviour
  • Media

Eyeota Deep Dives Into Australian Automotive Purchase Behaviour

Eyeota, the global leader in audience data, has today released its latest results on automotive purchase intentions in Australia. The results provide a deep dive into what motivates the buyer and segments those into six different personas.

APN Outdoor Joins The AANA
  • Marketing
  • Media

APN Outdoor Joins The AANA

AANA's annual Christmas dinner and dance got a teensy bit more crowded following this announcement this morning.

QMS Introduces ‘The Lonsdale’ To Melbourne
  • Advertising
  • Media

QMS Introduces ‘The Lonsdale’ To Melbourne

Digital outdoor media company QMS Media has turned on a new premium landmark digital billboard situated in the heart of Melbourne’s CBD. Delivering a commanding presence at the major intersection of Lonsdale and Russell Streets, ‘The Lonsdale’ offers extended dwell times to both vehicle and pedestrian traffic, impacting more than 2.2 million contacts per month. […]

Portrait of a woman looking through out the blinds. Office worker looking through window blinds
  • Opinion

The Lurking Brand Threats Facing CMOs

Treading on gardening rakes and possible alien abduction notable omissions from this CMO threats piece.

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Women In Media Profile: Susannah George
  • Media

Women In Media Profile: Susannah George

B&T is delighted to profile Urbanlist supremo Susannah George who, we understand, is not related to George Brandis.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Ikon Lands Avis Budget Group Account
  • Advertising
  • Marketing
  • Media

Ikon Lands Avis Budget Group Account

B&T chooses and recommends Avis and John Karandonis shoes. Hang on, that was the end of Sale Of The Century.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Principals Appoints New Creative Director For Melbourne
  • Marketing

Principals Appoints New Creative Director For Melbourne

Branding design agency Principals has announced the appointment of Pip Ireland as its Melbourne creative director. Ireland, who has been freelancing with the agency for the past six months, has previously held roles at Designworks in New Zealand and Melbourne as well as Moon Communications in Sydney. Principals executive creative director Simon Wright said: “We’ve […]

Pureprofile Unveils Next-Level Audience Segmentation Offering With RDA Research
  • Media
  • Technology

Pureprofile Unveils Next-Level Audience Segmentation Offering With RDA Research

Global media and technology company Pureprofile has partnered with RDA Research to enable further audience segmentation across its audience profiles. RDA Research’s geoTribes is a unique classification system that rivals traditional geodemographic approaches by grouping consumers into fifteen ‘tribes’ based on their life stage and socio-economic status. Clients are then able to better understand consumer […]

WPP AUNZ Launches ‘The Bond & Associates’
  • Advertising
  • Marketing
  • Media

WPP AUNZ Launches ‘The Bond & Associates’

Advertising conglomerate WPP AUNZ has launched an innovative new stakeholder and community engagement practice called The Bond & Associates. Led by newly-appointed national director and former Newgate Australia adviser Gail Morgan (pictured above), The Bond & Associates will provide a complete solution for both government and private sector clients involved in complex public projects and […]

MYOB Partners With Network Ten’s Shark Tank
  • Marketing
  • Media

MYOB Partners With Network Ten’s Shark Tank

Accounting software provider MYOB has announced it has signed as a major sponsor of Shark Tank on Network Ten, which returns to screens tonight. In its fourth season, Shark Tank continues its format of having budding business owners and entrepreneurs pitch their ideas to the ‘sharks’, who have invested $21 million of their own money […]

Aussies Back ABC Over Budget Cuts
  • Media

Aussies Back ABC Over Budget Cuts

A new poll has found a resounding 70% of Aussies oppose cuts to the ABC despite only 7% actually bothering to watch.

Meerkats Test-Drive Dream Safari Holiday In New Comparethemarket.com.au TVC
  • Advertising
  • Campaigns

Meerkats Test-Drive Dream Safari Holiday In New Comparethemarket.com.au TVC

Leading comparison service comparethemarket.com.au has launched its latest TVC nationwide to announce its dream Safari holiday competition. The TVC – ‘Safari’ – which sees the meerkats back in their ancestral home ‘selflessly’ test-driving the amazing Safari trip that is up for grabs for one lucky winner. Narrowly avoiding an elephant trampling their picnic, an inquisitive […]

Women In Media Profile: Lauren Nicole
  • Media

Women In Media Profile: Lauren Nicole

We'd like to say B&T provides a delightful high tea for all Women In Media interviewees, but it'd be a scandalous lie.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine