It’s safe to say after publishing my ‘The Misunderstood Millennials’ blog post, my defensive views on the negative stigma surrounding my generation have become more and more apparent. So I must admit when my lecturer first discussed the CIPR South West’s Future PR Workforce event, and the phrase ‘Gen Z’ flashed up on the interactive board, an eye roll was my initial response. However, soon after I stepped aboard the MB Tempora I realised what a wonderful opportunity the event was.
The afternoon started off with three presentations from three very different professional angles. First off was recruitment specialist, Liz Gadd, who broke down the various generations and the challenges/solutions surrounding Gen Z in the workplace. With Liz being the middle man between the client and candidate, it was refreshing to hear a fresh perspective on how to successfully secure a graduate job. But what really stood out for me was the tone of the presentation, rather than the content. Finally, a Gen X PR professional that focuses more on what us Millennials can bring to the workplace, rather than initially highlighting our generational downfalls.
We were then introduced to Polly Snell, a recent UWE graduate who has secured an amazing account executive job at Octane. After hearing several horror of students who have struggled since leaving university, it is safe to say I have been fearful of my education coming to an end and stepping onto the career ladder. But hearing about Polly’s transition into the workforce has laid all my fears to rest. It was an honest account of how to get to where she is now, and what to expect once you’re there – advice that only really resonates when spoken by a recent graduate (sorry Richard!).
Last but not least, we heard from Synergy’s Gemma McGrattan and Lucy McKerron, where they discussed their innovation expertise in helping brands, in this case Odeon, to recruit our generation. I particularly loved their case studies at the end of their presentation on companies that have mastered the skill of keeping their workforce happy… with not a ball-pit in sight I may add!
With the afternoon in full swing by this point, we then progressed onto the workshop part of the event, in which we had the pleasure of CIPR’s president, Jason MacKenzie, joining our group. It was interesting to merge student’s and professionals together to brainstorm our dream job expectations and their dream employee qualities. Whilst it was helpful to learn what I needed to bring to the PR career table to stand out, I admired how genuinely interested the professionals were to our opinions and respecting our perspectives. Something that I can only hope for in a future workplace, and it seemed like I wasn’t the only one after gathering feedback from the other groups.
Overall, I would just like to say a big thank-you to the CIPR and the event facilitators for making this afternoon happen. It is not everyday you get the opportunity to gain priceless advice from a variety of PR professionals, but to actually be apart of an insightful round table discussion, as though we were all equals within the industry, was what put this event above the rest for me.