Have women become a super breed in the world of PR, and why has it happened in this particular industry?
Personally, I think that women in PR have found a discipline where they can work and show self-confidence, assertiveness, a risk-taking attitude, and an accountability necessary for business success.
Kim Wilkes surmised that the major appeal of PR to women was because it blended creativity and business. More importantly, it is a field that lends itself to interrupted careers and freelancing for the working mother.
Could this be because women dominate PR, and as such, the industry is more open to the needs of female employees?
According to Greg Smith’s
looked at why women are attracted to the PR industry. A total of 78% of professionals interviewed said that they were aware that most of those working in the industry were female. The most common reason put forward for the 'feminisation of PR' is that the industry is simply perceived as being feminine. This feminisation can be explained by the fact the industry is often perceived as being glamorous and a 'soft' career option.
Also PR departments and agencies seem preferred to employ female employees rather than males.
'We need people who can juggle tasks, keep calm and influence people - and women are good at that,' says Jo Marino, who heads up Waterstones' in-house PR team along with two female colleagues. She adds: 'I'd like to employ more men but then I've never come across a situation where I've thought we really needed a man.'
Neil Boom is MD of financial PR agency Gresham
, the only man in the company and says he can empathise with this. He'd also like to employ more men, but admits he prefers working with women who, he says, are more cautious, less likely to speak off the cuff and more willing to take advice. 'Young men can be over-confident, with a slightly gung-ho approach,'.
So women are better suited to PR because they naturally have better communication skills. This theory may sound biased and come across as politically incorrect, but is commonly accepted. Gillian Rankin, a business psychologist at ML Consulting points out in PR Week,
'Women are recognised at being better at relationship building, which is crucial for dealing both with clients and the media…Also they have empathy with people and are more interested in interactive dialogue - listening as well as speaking.'
As public relations needs high levels of communication, women seem to adjust better than men. With the increasing feminisation of PR many young women are eager to work in the PR industry, so the gender shift in the industry shows no signs of slowing.