CIPR publishes State of the Profession 2015

The Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) has published its annual State of the Profession report, covering the trends, issues, opportunities and challenges facing the business of public relations as revealed by research conducted with over 2,000 PR professionals.

For the first time the research analysed the ‘Educational background’ of PR practitioners, ‘Happiness & wellbeing’, and an in-depth analysis of ‘Gender balance & equal pay’. This is in addition to covering ‘Skills & competencies’, ‘Salaries’, ‘Diversity’, ‘Budgets’, ‘Public relations strategy & the board’, ‘Hallmarks of professionalism’, ‘The changing nature of public relations’, and ‘Future challenges’.

Key findings include:

  • inter-departmental convergence is a clear and growing trend – all in-house PR professionals are now working “more closely” than “less closely” with every single department in their organisations (marketing, sales, IT, HR etc.), than compared to two years ago
  • the competencies in-demand from junior and senior hires remain focused on traditional PR skills over digital/technical skills – 64% of all PR professionals identify traditional PR skills (written communication, interpersonal skills etc.) as key competencies when hiring junior and senior candidates, this is compared to 20% who identify digital/technical PR skills (SEO, HTML and coding, etc.) as key competencies
  • a digital skills gap between young and old is exacerbated by recruitment trends – digital and social skills fail to feature in any of the top five lists of competencies sought by professionals across all sectors (in-house, consultancy etc.) looking to hire senior candidates, whereas this precise skill set is the third most in-demand for junior roles
  • professional standards are a work in progress – 96% of practitioners say professionalism is important to them, yet 55% of PR professionals believe “satisfying clients/employers” define professional standards, and 79% of PR professionals believe “experience in a PR role” is a professional’s most valuable asset
  • dangerously high levels of workplace stress are more common than not for those in senior management - 51% of senior managers in PR identify as being “extremely stressed” or “very stressed” in their roles
  • equal pay has been scrutinized in a unique level of detail – a clear pay inequality gap (note: this is different from a mean gender pay gap) of £8,483 exists in favour of men, and is a figure that cannot be explained by any other factor such as length of service, seniority, parenthood, or a higher prevalence of part-time work amongst women. Findings also reveal the biggest influences on the salaries of all public relations professionals; with gender identified as the third biggest influence on salary, more so than education background, sector of practice, graduate status, and full-time/part-time status.
Sarah Pinch FCIPR, CIPR President 2015
This year’s results point to a promising future for our practice, but also deliver some findings that make tough reading. As an industry we have to become better equipped and more confident in order to embrace the additional opportunities and challenges that are coming our way.

This means we must be clear what a professional public relations practitioner is. Professionalism is about standards, quality, ethical working and assurance of our work to employers, employees, colleagues and clients. It is not about being paid well or popular, described in the report as ‘satisfying clients and/or employers’.

To be considered at all professional, we must also tackle equal pay head on, which is an embarrassment to an industry dominated by women.

Fulfilling our own professional ambitions will be no easy task, so we must consider these findings as a call to action. I have confidence that we will use this insight to deliver a better, stronger, fairer and more confident profession.
Sarah Pinch FCIPR, CIPR President 2015
Notes to editors

Notes to editors

About the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR)Founded in 1948, the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) is the Royal Chartered professional body for public relations practitioners in the UK and overseas. The CIPR is the largest membership organisation for PR practitioners outside of North America. By size of turnover and number of individually registered members, we are the leading representative body for the PR profession and industry in Europe.

The CIPR advances professionalism in public relations by making its members accountable to their employers and the public through a code of conduct and searchable public register, setting standards through training, qualifications, awards and the production of best practice and skills guidance, facilitating Continuing Professional Development (CPD), and awarding Chartered Public Relations Practitioner status (Chart.PR).