CIPR reports on the ‘State of the Profession’ in 2016


Delivered in partnership with Survation, the seventh edition of 'State of the Profession' gives evidence to burgeoning cross-industry convergence between PR and marketing, and the increasing demands for practitioners to be content creators and curators.


This year's report also offers unprecedented detail on a range of industry issues from attitudes towards diversity and inclusion, to unparalleled salary and earnings data. This features an extensive breakdown of the gender pay gap, found to be the most prevalent at senior levels.


CIPR has today published the most recent findings of public relations’ most comprehensive and longest running survey of professionals.

#StateOfPR 2016 reflects the views of more than 1500 practitioners who shared their thoughts on every aspect of public relations, delivering the most compelling snapshot of public relations practice to date.

Key findings reveal:

  • No ease up on PR and marketing convergence – Up by 3% from 2015, 76% of PR professionals say that they’re working more closely with dedicated social and digital, marketing, advertising and sales teams when compared with two years ago.
  • Evidence of evolution from media relations to content creators – For the first time in seven years, media relations is no longer the primary way in which most or at least some of PR professionals spend their time (as recorded by 72% of respondents - down 4% on 2015). In this year’s survey, 81% indicate most or at least some of their time is spent on content creation.
  • Morphing from management to leadership – weighing practitioners’ confidence in skills against the demands of employers and recruiters indicates soft skills are the most comfortable for all PR professionals. Yet, the ability to strategically lead and manage the hard side of business development and financial planning are key areas of development across the board.
  • Annual pay rises by 5.6%, in consolidated earnings figures – For the first time, data relating to pay combines figures for all of those working in-house, in consultancy and as independent practitioners. This records an average annual earnings figure of £48,196 for 2016, up from last year’s figure of £45,633.
  • Are the highest paid jobs in PR available to women? – Pay inequality is found to manifest itself at the most senior levels in PR and is particularly acute for those working in consultancies, as well as for independent practitioners. This is despite women constituting two thirds (66%) of the overall working population, and close-to 50/50 gender balance across senior roles. Following these results the CIPR and Women in PR have agreed to work together on a series of activities and initiatives through 2016 to collaboratively tackle the issue.

The executive summary of this year’s research and full research report can be downloaded from

Rob Brown FCIPR, CIPR President, Managing Partner of Rule 5
The PR industry faces a challenge with skills progression. It’s clear that around middle management we expect people to stop being tactical content creators and demonstrate leadership, interpersonal and strategic management capabilities as well as the hard business skills of pitching, project management and financial planning.

The hard truth about potential comes out when you see that majority of people don’t rate these as among their strongest personal competencies. If more PR professionals are to excel at the highest level, we must empower all practitioners to learn and evolve.
Rob Brown FCIPR, CIPR President, Managing Partner of Rule 5
Sarah Pinch Chart.PR, FCIPR, CIPR Past President
State of the Profession continues to lead the way on sharing the hard evidence behind the sexism that dogs our industry’s recruitment and promotion practices.

The picture painted this year is the clearest yet - women continue to be disadvantaged at all levels, yet in the top jobs, in the top businesses, inequality is particular acute. We must ask ourselves some hard questions as to why this continues to be the case?

Despite this, it is positive that we can record progress on the bottom-line of the overall pay gap, down 7% when comparing year-on-year figures. This shows to me that the Institute's drive in pushing this vital issue up the agenda is having traction, and cross-industry initiatives from opening up conversations about agile working, to mentoring, are beginning to work.

Moving forward, collaboration and working together will be key. With this in mind, I'm delighted that the CIPR and Women in PR will now be working closer than ever.

Public relations is an exciting, honourable profession; but we must take action to ensure we treat our women well. Men and women in public relations stand far less chance of making it to the top if we choke off half of our talent before it can shine. It's time to make this change happen.
Sarah Pinch Chart.PR, FCIPR, CIPR Past President
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).