The Staffing Challenge

July 18, 2007

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As is often the case, FH Hispania is looking to fill an account staff position in one of our offices. So I took the opportunity to browse through the job postings on Monster.com and LatPro.com and came across no less than fifteen job openings for PR account persons at various advertising and public relations agencies across the country, let alone several other postings for corporate positions with Hispanic communications responsibilities.

If my experience is any indication, unfortunately, those jobs are going to take a while to fill. One of the biggest challenges facing the growth of our industry could be the availability of qualified PR professionals who have superior skills communicating in both English and Spanish, especially when it comes to writing. We often come across professionals who grew up overseas and have great Spanish-language skills, but who lack the facility in English to develop presentation documents and interact with clients that sometimes have limited Spanish knowledge. Even more common are young professionals who moved to the U.S. at an early age or are second generation Hispanics who understand the culture and learned Spanish at home, but don’t have the rigorous academic background in Spanish that we demand of public relations professionals.

On a typical week, you will find upwards of thirty or forty Spanish press releases posted on Hispanic PR Wire, the leading news distribution service aimed at U.S. Hispanic media. Manny Ruiz, the company’s president, tells me that number has grown steadily since the service kicked off several years ago. All indications are that this growth trend should continue, but to meet the greater demand for high quality Hispanic communications services, as an industry, we are faced with the challenge of exploring innovative ways of identifying and nurturing individuals from a cross-section of disciplines who have the potential to display both the language and functional PR skills that our clients expect of our general market counterparts, only bilingually.