The Public Relations Institute of Australia (PRIA) has launched an industry-wide survey to measure the impact of changes to the skilled migration program on the PR and communications industry across Australia.
The PRIA is particularly concerned about the impact the visa changes will have on:
- the loss of skilled workers being employed under the occupation of PR manager;
- the shift to a two-year only visa for the remaining PR occupation, PR professional;
- the increased costs of sponsoring employees into the country on the new system, and;
- rising wages as demand outstrips supply of experienced Australian-based professionals.
The industry-wide survey asks consultancies to provide detailed information about their current exposure to skilled migration.
The PRIA is seeking to understand their motivation for using the scheme and the impact the new restrictions are likely to have on growth and competitiveness.
Jenny Muir, national president at the PRIA, said the association is working closely with industry leaders to ensure that the federal government understands the current and future skilled workforce realities for the PR sector.
“The sudden announcement of the changes to the existing skilled migration visa program has been met with significant disquiet across our sector,” she said.
“The changes have hit business plans for growth, with industry leaders aghast at what these changes mean for them, their current skilled visa staff, and how it will exacerbate existing talent wars.
“It’s important that every PR and communication team that relies on skilled migration today participates in this survey – PRIA member or not. We need a rational, evidence-based response to government to underline just how significant the proposed changes are.
“These changes affect every aspect of our industry, from universities and their enrolment intakes, through to the significant business plans for growth, innovation and talent development.”
Adam Benson, national chair of the PRIA’s Registered Consultancy Group, which represents PR consultancy owners and CEOs, said: “Our sector has a well-documented, permanent shortage of middle-to-senior level consultants which already restricts sector growth.
“The war for talent in our industry has been going since 2001 and these changes are likely to make it worse.
“There’s not a member I know who thought hiring overseas talent was a way to save money or cut costs – the search, onboarding, sponsorship management and other costs borne with every international hire are significant for a professional services firm and not taken on lightly.
“I encourage every employer of PR and communication professionals that relies on skilled migration to complete the survey. Our industry-response taskforce needs as much data from across the sector as it can get so we can work with the government and help them understand some of the unintended consequences of the proposed changes.