I did a little analysis of the job titles of members of the Motor Industry Public Affairs Association (MIPAA) recently and think I might have spotted an interesting trend.
Fewer than one-third of members have titles that indicate their role as being administrative or executive level (that is PR executive as opposed to chief executive). A third have manager or senior in their title, with the remainder carry a title of director, head of or similar high status label.
Perhaps the job title changes reflect the move away from PR’s traditional focus on media relations? Interestingly, the most common job title in MIPAA remains “press officer” – but this seems to be given to entry level practitioners.
So does MIPAA membership reflect a bias towards the upper echelons of the PR profession? Are we missing out on junior practitioners in the group? I don’t think so. Rather, I believe there is job title inflation going on in public relations.
If you look back to the early 1990s, there seemed to be a similar shift, when MIPAA members suddenly gained the word “manager” in their job titles. Perhaps it is easier for organisations (in-house and consultancy) to offer up a fancy job title, rather than improved salaries or benefits. And, if there is kudos in the title, then why not load on additional “management” responsibilities, regardless of actual experience or competency.
The consequence is that those who are managing budgets, people, departments or projects, need to have an even better job title. So Head of… or Director of… is sought – and again, awarded by organisations who can easily offer up new business cards and enhanced workload to those wanting a “bigger” job title.
Or am I being cynical and the changes reflect an increased status for PR itself?
Is this just something peculiar to PR in the UK motor industry – or is this a wider trend?