PUBLIC DATA: How can public sector comms get around its lack of respect as a profession?


I’ve blogged the CIPR’s annual state of the profession report and a really interesting spread of data.

Across the profession, there are issues around large numbers of white privately-educated communicators and not enough diversity.

I’d also add not enough young people to the debate prompted by the numbers.

You can read the CIPR data here and my blog here.

But one thing really does emerge from asking a set of additional deeply unscientific set of questions I asked of the Public Sector Comms Headspace Facebook group.

They in no way replace or undermine the CIPR data but one thing absolutely shines through for public sector communicators and that’s a lack of respect.


The strawpoll results

182 – Lack of respect for comms as a profession.

108 – Lack of resources

49 – Lack of planning and prioritisation 

39 – Most of them, TBF.

8 – Stress

And what to do about a lack of respect

For me, comms people often are their own worst enemy. One cog in a large organisation the easiest way is to go along with the request for a poster even when a poster isn’t what’s needed.

There are only so many times you can push back against someone with more years of service and a bigger salary and I get that. But I keep coming back to the idea that unless you do challenge and offer advice there’s really nothing between you and a glorified shorthand typist.

I’m a member of the CIPR. Why? Because broadly, they’re an organisation heading in the right direction.

If I was in-house I’d be looking at the work that LGComms, GCS and communicators in the NHS do too.

I’d be looking to train and learn as much as I could.

But at the end of the day, while there are organisations around, the need to be taken seriously as a communicator begins and ends with yourself. If you don’t take yourself seriously how can you expect others to?

I’d be interested to hear your view, too.

Picture credit: Documerica  / Flickr.

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