PR practitioners less likely to take time off for mental health than other UK workers
PR professionals are significantly less likely to take time off work to rest and recover from poor mental health compared to other UK workers, according to new research carried out by the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) and the Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA).
The research – conducted by Opinium – revealed one in five (22%) PR practitioners who experienced poor mental health had taken time off from work in the last year. The national average across all professional industries is 41%.
This year’s Mental Health in PR survey also explored the impact of the working environment on employee wellbeing. Although employees are generally satisfied with their offices, satisfaction levels were at the lowest when it comes to areas to eat away from the desk (51%), indoor decor (50%), and storage (41%).
The data also shows that PR pros are adjusting to new working patterns. Nearly eight in ten (76%) practitioners said that working from home has created a better work-life balance. Just under three quarters (73%) said not having to commute has improved their mental health, up from 66% last year.
Encouragingly, this year has seen a small but consistent improvement in mental wellbeing scores with a total of 45.5 (up from 45.1 in 2021, and back to the 2019-levels).
Key survey findings:
- 91% of those in PR have experienced poor mental health at some point in the past year, compared to 90% in 2021.
- 58% said an overwhelming workload was a key source of workplace stress, down from 67% last year.
- 51% have told someone at work that they have struggled with their mental wellbeing.
- 30% have found their job stressful, slightly up from 26% last year.
- 81% support a mixed approach of office and home working.
It’s easy to get pulled down into just managing the daily demands of clients and co-workers, but we have to think about how we want public relations to work in 5 or 10 years’ time. Will working in PR still feel the same for so many people? Is a sector that places such a high mental health burden on those who work in it even sustainable for that long?
Take some time to reflect on the data in this report and share them with your senior leaders. The power to improve the mental health of our employees and colleagues is in our hands. Now is the time to make a difference.
While there is ongoing uncertainty, there is also hope. More than half of PR professionals have told someone at work that they have struggled with their mental wellbeing. Remote, flexible working has proved to be game changing for many.
I am proud of the industry’s role in keeping the mental health and wellbeing conversation at the fore. However, there is much more to do to build a system of support that looks beyond a short-term fix to addressing the lifelong needs of individuals.
I’m really pleased to see some encouraging signs after what has been a difficult couple of years for us all. This year is the fourth year of the project, and I hope that it continues to help us understand the wellbeing of those in the sector and make changes for the better.
Mental Health has been a key focus for us at Edelman for many years. Which is why we were pleased to partner with the PRCA, CIPR and Opinium on this report for the fourth year in a row. In the face of increasing economic and societal challenges – from the aftershocks of COVID-19 to emerging geopolitical conflict, the changing role of the workplace in our lives and the rising cost-of-living crisis – it is more vital than ever that we ensure protecting mental health and wellbeing remains a priority for communicators and business leaders.
About the Chartered Institute of Public Relations
Founded in 1948, the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) is the world's only Royal Chartered professional body for public relations practitioners with over 10,000 members.
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).