Millennials in PR Think They Are Doing A Great Job (Their Managers Disagree)


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Millennials represent the largest generation in the workforce (35%) but continue to wrestle with a bit of a reputation problem; mainly that we are lazy, entitled and self-centered. Is the disconnect rooted in a simply age divide, or are there other factors contributing to the challenges faced by entry-level PR professionals and those higher up the professional food chain?

A new study by The Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations and the Institute for Public Relations has uncovered just how alarmingly large the communication gap between generations has become in our industry.

An online survey asked 420 millennial communication professionals and the 420 professionals who manage them questions on workplace values and attributes, engagement with their jobs and organizations, leadership capabilities and development opportunities, and recruiting and retention drivers.

Overall, the study enforces the idea that perception is everything. Both millennials and managers will be well served by reviewing the findings and ideally, setting aside some time to any points that appear to be directly impacting the employee-manager relationship.

In particular, the study found that millennials believe they take their jobs seriously while their managers are overwhelmingly skeptical. Here are 4 other key findings.


More than 80% of millennial communication professionals surveyed said they are ambitious and passionate about work, but only half their managers agreed.


More than 70% of millennial communication professionals said they are ready to be excellent leaders in communication and demonstrate strong ethical orientation and professional values.

Fewer than half their managers agreed.

The study found that millennials believe they take their jobs seriously while their managers are overwhelmingly skeptical.


More than 72% of millennials said they were engaged in their job and 59% said they were engaged in their organization. However, 83% of managers reported being engaged in their job and more than 74% reported being engaged in their organization.

4. MILLENNIALS Care about culture

Two-thirds of millennial communication professionals said job decisions were driven most by reputation (68.1%), culture (67.2%), and location (67.4%).

While millennials are not always on the same page as those managing them, this study did demonstrate that our strong digital skills, passion for leadership and strong values for diversity, transparency, social responsibility and community are certainly in alignment with best agency practices.

Though PR runs at a non-stop sprint, it would be beneficial for agencies to elevate these issues, and mentors and managers to keep these common misperceptions top of mind when considering the performance and loyalty of their millennial team members.


Riley Joachims

Riley Joachims

Riley Joachims is a spunky and creative communication specialist. Whether it is putting together a strong social media campaign, securing press for your next event, or marketing your company to your intended audience, she's got you covered! She is currently living in sunny San Diego and just graduated from San Diego State University with a major in journalism with an emphasis in public relations and a minor in marketing. Riley is a fitness fanatic who enjoys dancing, cooking her favorite Trader Joes items, trying out new coffee shops and traveling and photographing new places. She is always looking for her next big adventure and has just started her career in fashion & lifestyle PR!