Top U.S. PR Firms Set Clear Policy to Attract Most Qualified and Diverse Talent, Encourage Others to Follow

May 23, 2019 (New York, NY) – The PR Council (PRC), an association representing 110 top U.S. public relations firms, today announced a new intern pay policy.  Effective January 1, 2020, the policy confirms that all Member firms will pay U.S. interns at least minimum wage for their market. The new policy will be added to the PRC’s Code of Ethics, which is annually reaffirmed and signed by Member agency principals.

“I am proud that our industry is putting a stake in the ground on this issue and I hope others will follow,” said Gail Heimann, PRC Board Chair and Weber Shandwick President. “Properly shaped and managed Internship experiences are critical to preparing young talent for future positions; internships that are fairly compensated are an important way to bring a more diverse body of accomplished talent into the industry.”

Prospective interns can visit to identify PRC Member agencies.

“By making it crystal clear that our Members pay interns, we avoid any misperceptions and misinformation,” said Kim Sample, PR Council President, explaining, “when we recently surveyed members, we found a few points of confusion, including whether some colleges and universities require that internships be unpaid.”

The new policy states that Member firms believe, as a matter of principle, that paying interns is in the best interest of the intern and the firm, even if the student is receiving course credit. Unpaid, short-term “externships” (no more than two weeks) consisting of only shadowing are permitted.

A Member who has called for all agencies to pay interns for a decade, Tony Signore, CEO & Managing Partner, Taylor, said, “The C-Suite across all industries has turned a blind eye to this issue for too long. Separate from the legal implications, paying interns is unequivocally the proper and ethical decision to make.”

About the PR Council

Established in 1998, the PR Council (PRC) is composed of America’s premier global, midsize, regional and specialty agencies across every discipline and practice. It is the leading trade association for agencies, designed to empower the present and next generation of communications professionals, industry innovators and business leaders through education, events and industry resources. The PRC’s active members from over 110 leading U.S. agencies represent more than 80% (est.) of all U.S. PR firm revenues and employ over 12,000 professionals.