The data emerges in the latest VMA Group-commissioned Business Leaders in Communications Study, seen exclusively by PRWeek ahead of its publication later this week.
The survey asked more than 250 comms directors to state whether they thought demand for resources would increase or decrease in the next two years in 16 different areas.
Social media topped this list with 81 per cent predicting an increase and just one per cent a decrease.
Social media’s importance was further underlined when 72 per cent placed ‘keeping up with rapid evolution of social media techniques’ in their five most important challenges.
This put social media second only to ‘number or complexity of key audiences’, which was named by 77 per cent.
However, the apparent importance of social media was put in context by the category's low ranking in the five skills most highly valued by comms directors.
Only 27 per cent of them put it on their list and seven other skills were more highly prized.
|Five most highly valued skills||Score|
|Ability to articulate and influence||83%|
|Integrity, transparency and good judgement||77%|
|Creative and strategic thinking||76%|
|Organisation and leadership||50%|
|Fit with the organisation's culture||44%|
|Social media and digital||27%|
|Additional language capabilities||4%|
Brian Bannister, head of global comms for accountancy firm KPMG, said: "The challenging economic climate has highlighted the acceleration in the use of social media and its impact on the way organisations communicate."