Although PR and communications has always tended to be a female dominated industry (with 66% of those employed being women), it has long been noted that the senior roles were more often filled by men (78% of CEOs in the top 30 global PR agencies are men, and men account for 62% of seats at the PR boardroom table).
However, this year marks a notable shift towards female leadership.
For the second year in a row, a woman has topped the PR Week’s Power List (Omnicom PR Group’s Karen van Bergen in 2017, and Burson Cohn & Wolfe CEO Donna Imperato this year).
PR Week also released its UK Power Book 2018, in which seven of the top 10 in travel PR were women, with the top five completely comprised of women in senior roles across airlines, holiday companies and agencies.
In fact, six of the seven women named in this list worked for a travel PR agency, or had an agency background. So, how does a beginning in a travel PR agency provide women with a brilliant grounding to become a future leader?
Working for an agency demands a number of skills: impeccable multi-tasking and organisation, personability, empathy, an ability to work well under a number of pressures and the need to think analytically and strategically. It also throws you in at the deep end, where no day is the same. You may be pitching a new airline route to the media one day, attending a travel conference the next, or liaising with tourist boards to put together the perfect itinerary for a press trip the day after.
For women in particular, these agency skills can give the confidence needed to shine in any company, big or small, and support women during their progression through the ranks to become the future CEOs, managing directors, and PR and communications directors of the future.