Survey indicates PR is held in higher esteem North of the border

CHICAGO: Canada is stealing thunder from the US when it comes to how companies value their PR functions, and how PR people feel about their jobs, according to a survey by the IABC Research Foundation.

CHICAGO: Canada is stealing thunder from the US when it comes to how companies value their PR functions, and how PR people feel about their jobs, according to a survey by the IABC Research Foundation.

Conducted in April and May, the survey found that more Canadian PR people are likely to report to the president/CEO of their companies than in the US (45% vs. 33%).

Also, 59% of Canadian respondents said they have unlimited direct access to senior management at their companies, while only 50% of US respondents said the same.

Corporate communication budgets in Canada have risen for 59% of respondents compared with 37% in the US, and the size of communications departments was more likely to increase in Canada (48% of respondents), but decrease in the US (36% of respondents).

"They are making progress and we are not," said Lou Williams, whose Chicago firm, L.C. Williams & Associates, conducted the survey. "It's not just Canada - it's international as well. The US has slowed down in terms of its use of PR."

Williams blamed the tech wreck for giving PR a black eye in the US, causing companies to lose sight of PR's strategic value.

"In that spectacular growth we had for PR over the course of the bull market, we weren't growing strategically," he explained. "It was just old-fashioned publicity. It was, 'Send out 10 releases a week.'"

Asked if they would again choose a career in communications, 80% of Canadian respondents said yes, compared with 75% in the US. This is despite the fact that Canadian communicators are making considerably less money than their US counterparts - an average of $50,000 a year, compared to $72,200 in the US (both stated in US dollars).

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