The year ahead with Saudi content creators

Who’d have guessed it? The largest country in the Gulf which is undergoing arguably the most important transformational project in its history has need for more communications.

Everywhere you look in Saudi Arabia, and you will come across new projects, developments and industries.

These changes, and the overall shift in Saudi society, necessitate more communicators (and marketers, of course).

There’s demand for internal communicators, to support change transformation programmes within organisations. We need more storytellers to narrate the Kingdom’s vision and journey to audiences both domestic and international. We need more crisis communications experts to deal with the inevitable issues that change creates. The list is endless.

And yet, there just aren’t enough professionals to meet demand. You don’t need statistics or data to tell this story (though that’d be helpful), the number of postings both on the client and agency side seems to be at an all-time high. And the churn on the agency side is also an issue, as top talent leaves for better paid roles on the client side.

So, what’s the answer? Simply put, we have to do something we are exceptionally bad at, which is to blow our own industry’s trumpet. We have to talk up communications if we are to attract more people into the industry.

We also need to give those wanting to become communications experts the opportunity to study the subject, both academically and on the job.

While there’s a need for more university courses in the country (standout local institutions include King Abdulaziz University, Effat University, Jeddah’s University of Business and Technology, and Alfaisal University), we have to start earlier and reach out to schools to explain what communications is all about.

Given the push to help build what is essentially ‘Brand Saudi’, there’s never been a better time to talk about how good communications can benefit a country and its reputation.

By working with the Ministry of Education, we can engage with young Saudis to help them both appreciate what the profession is all about and why it should matter to the country and its people. We can also explain to them and their families about career opportunities for communications professionals.

Role models are always handy, and there are so many excellent Saudi-based communicators out there whose role in shaping positive perceptions about the Kingdom needs to be highlighted through national campaigns (you know, the sort of work we do on a daily basis).

If we are going to elevate the profession within Saudi Arabia, we need to work as an industry, through industry associations. This must be an effort that transcends individuals and their organisations, to embrace all communicators on the agency and client side.

Raising awareness about what we as Saudi communicators do will not only help grow the talent pool, but it will also help prioritise communications within organisations.

While there’s more demand for communications, we also suffer from the last function approached condition. It wouldn’t harm to remind executives that good communications counsel should be sought at the beginning of any new project, rather than at the end (or not at all).

More Saudi communicators are wanted! Let’s work as an industry to educate, engage and attract the young talent we need to fill that gap. Are there any takers, agencies or clients, out there who are going to lead this charge?

By Alex Malouf, Executive Director, PRCA MENA board member