Not sure how many of you will remember back to July this year and my submission date for the CIPR Diploma. Well, results have now come through and, to my relief, I have passed. All the stress was worth it!

I mentioned back then that anyone who wanted a copy of the project – ‘Public Relations Education: A study of the role played by PR-specific education in the recruitment process’ – was welcome to email me for it and the offer still stands (

However, from my perspective, I don’t feel this is a finished project. When I spoke with the qualifications team at the CIPR, there was a recognition that not enough is being done to support PR-specific qualifications or to meet the goal of making PR-specific qualifications desirable in the recruitment process.

Without opening myself up to criticism – I fully support comments from practitioners who suggest that we’ll be a poorer profession if we don’t embrace the experience and knowledge from all walks of life– I do strongly believe that PR-specific education (undertaken while on-the-job rather than necessarily an undergraduate degree) is vital if PR is to become the profession it so desperately wants to be.

I’m finding it quite interesting at the moment. I’ve just started the CIM Professional Diploma and am ¾ of the way through the first module.

When you look at marketing recruitment ads or go for job interviews – something that a number of people on the course are doing – you’ll see that many employers require you to have marketing-specific education and a number specify the CIM courses.

The CIM also claims that 95% of UK employers see CIM qualifications as the qualifications to attain.
Perhaps this is a sign of the maturity of the marketing profession and comparable youth of PR. The CIPR qualifications have only been running for a decade – not long enough to have become established as a must-have. Meanwhile, the CIM qualifications have been established for many years and are recognised by exam bodies and professionals alike.

I think, most importantly, the CIM conducts regular research to show how much more a professionally-qualified marketer will earn in their lifetime.

A 2008 project carried out by the Consultative Committee for Professional Management Organisations (CCPMO) suggested that individuals with professional qualifications and membership could stand to earn an additional £152,000 over the course of their career. Something worth thinking about!

And, back to my project; I suggested that an annual study be conducted among those who’ve passed through PR-specific education to assess the impact on their salaries and job roles – much as The Economist tracks graduates of MBAs every year for at least ten years after they graduate. The CIPR commented that they just didn’t have the resources to do something like this. I’m willing – so, who will sponsor me?!

It is only when the financial and career benefits of PR-specific study are proven that the scepticism of the industry will begin to fall.