TALK SHOW WITH TSAMWAI NYEMBA If you’ve ever been involved with public relations (PR) & communication, you’ll quickly notice that the industry is filled with women. Nearly 80% of the public relations industry today is comprised of ladies. And it’s not even just the work force that is run by the girls.
My time studying public relations in university was spent side by side with students who were, by a majority, women. Is it just the industry that appeals to females or could it be that women are better equipped for a position where effective communication and strategy skills are necessary? According to a study done by Open Forum, the growth of firms led by women have been more successful than their male counterparts by growing at almost double the rate.
In the last 20 years or so, there has been a growing influx of women in the PR & communication industry. This domain has emerged as one of the most sought after by women. Reports state that almost 30% of the PR & communication enterprises have a woman CEO and approximately 72% of the PR & Communication practitioners are women.
It was also suggested in the study that women-owned firms tend to achieve greater success as they are successfully known to record double growth rate. As the world of PR & communication is increasingly becoming more female focussed, it has been seen that young women are handling multiple jobs such as sending out emails, tweeting responses, calling cold contacts and more.
All these years, PR & communication has gained its reputation as a female-friendly industry. To a large extent, the media has been responsible for the successful portrayal of women in the world of PR with the “coolest” jobs ever.
Since the 1980s, every notable fictional publicist has been a sharp-tongued, neon-heel flaunting, salad-eating woman. There’s no denying that this development is encouraging and lures a higher number of business-savvy women, but the issue concerning gender disparity continues to remain.
In this study, we will throw light on some of the reasons why women’s dominance is evident in this industry on what makes females such effective leaders, especially in the PR & Communication industry? There are several reasons:
- Women are better, more active listeners
Believe it or not, women are more empathetic as compared to men, making them great listeners and understanding of the needs of others. Women also have the natural ability to connect on a deeper level. Moreover, they are better attuned to the customer’s requirements, ensuring satisfying relationships.
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Gender differences exist, and scientists are still discovering more disparities. Besides the obvious physical differences in size, shape and strength, men and women often react differently to medications. Women also have better night vision and better visual memory, while men have better distance vision and depth perception. Gender differences have also been studied in the act of listening.
According to Larry Barker and Kittie Watson, authors of the book Listen Up, men and women typically employ different listening styles. Men are more likely to be action-oriented listeners, which means they focus on listening to information pertinent to the task at hand.
Action-oriented listeners have little patience for speakers who ramble off topic or include unnecessary details. Women are more likely to be people-oriented listeners. They connect with the emotional message and undertones of a conversation and are more concerned with the occurrence of the conversation than with the pertinent information discussed.
Men and women can listen equally well. In general, females tend to be more empathetic than males. This gives them the upper-hand when understanding the needs of others and knowing when it’s time to listen. Women can more quickly connect on a deeper level. This enables us to be attuned to a client’s needs, creating the environment for a satisfying, long-term relationship.
- Women know what is going on
It is more likely that women will be up-to-date with the news and be able to apply it to clients and other workplace issues. Women consistently show up men in spatial memory and multitasking. This allows females to check the news, answer an email and problem solve. This also makes females effective at brainstorming strategising solutions.
Women are more updated with the latest happenings and better equipped to meet customer needs. Their natural ability to multitask makes them better PR & communication practitioners as compared to men. Productivity studies show that women are better at juggling innumerable tasks such as household work, check news, answer emails and solve problems efficiently.
At varied instances, females have also proven to be more efficient at brainstorming for solutions as compared to their male counterparts.
- Women are effective in groups
Women are born connectors and communicators. They have the natural instinct to empathise, connect and share thoughts.
Furthermore, they have thought-provoking ideas and better capability to shape future events. As mentioned earlier, women tend to empathise and connect easier than men.
We are natural connectors and communicators. Women aren’t nervous or afraid to speak with others and share thoughts on issues or stress. By being able to hone in on that natural ability to communicate, women can come up with better thoughts, ideas and plans for the future.
Strong evidence now shows that women make groups smarter. Significantly, this is not confirmation of the standard diversity idea that a mixed group will be more effective than an all-male or all-female group. Rather, the evidence says, the more women, the better. The diversity theory would say that adding a man to an all-women group should make it smarter. Turns out it’s just the opposite.
- Women are social creatures
Studies maintain time and time again that women are more social than men. This leads to higher rates of collaboration and creativity within business. Women tend to seek interaction more. We are comfortable in seeking new connections with just about anyone, which can really help drive new business.
In marked contrast, women form isolated one-on-one relationships with fewer instrumental benefits, so social exclusion constitutes a more useful strategy. Social exclusion should be utilised by females more than males and females should be more sensitive to its occurrence.
- Women can focus more on the macro
The main focus of men in business tends to be on monetary outlook and increasing sales. Women are able to focus on the big picture issues. A recent study from Accenture shows that women are more likely to place importance on work-life balance over money, which fosters an environment for overall success within a business.
Furthermore, men usually love to focus on the monetary outlook and enhancing sales figures, women on the other hand emphasise on issues. Studies prove that women give preference to maintaining the work-life balance for bolstering productivity levels.
Varied start up PR & communication agencies are of the opinion that it is tough to ascertain why the sector has an overpowering female presence, but their women employees’ natural ability to perform a job perfectly is making the industry grow by leaps and bounds.
- Women are good at work hour flexibility
The researches and report prepared on PR & communication have shown that women prefer to join PR & communication as it offers them ample work hour flexibility. In this digital age, they can work from home as freelancers and hence they like taking up such job, especially when they have kids to take care of. This reduces their possibility to leave their job as they can continue from home with flex-time.
- Women are reliable
It has been proved by survey that most men and women prefer talking to a woman rather than a man. Hence, PR& Communication specialists are more relied upon by people when they are women.
- Women are mostly to be hired
Choice of organisations-Owing to the last reason, the PR & communication agencies also prefer taking women for their posts of PR & communication executives. They feel that when a woman will communicate on their behalf, it will attract more traffic to the companies that they are doing PR & communication. This will automatically enhance their business and make them grow.
In conclusion, no one can truly pinpoint why the PR & communication industry is bursting with females. Regardless, women have the skills and natural abilities in order to perform a job well done.
Plugged as a highly competitive domain and a tough gig to handle, it is inspiring to see that women are “wearing the pants” in the world of PR & communication with their knack of efficiently handling global enterprises, start up PR & communication agencies give them the scope to tackle new perspectives and conflicts effortlessly. We assume that in the coming years, the female dominance will only attain greater heights in the field of PR & communication.