Industry survey shows 34% increase in profits

Profits for the UK’s top 30 PR consultancies have jumped by over a third, according to the latest survey on industry profitability published this week.

Accountancy firm Willott Kingston Smith's 15th annual survey, Financial Performance of Marketing Services Companies, showed that pre-tax profits had jumped by 34 per cent across the sector's top firms since last year.

Willott partner Esther Carder said the figures, collected from audited accounts, suggested that 'major rounds of restructuring and downsizing are over and consultancies should now have their cost base more in line with income levels'.

Havas-owned City firm The Maitland Consultancy recorded the biggest revenue per head even though gross income per employee actually fell 9.5 per cent from £190,452 to £172,353.

Meanwhile, Good Relations saw its per employee figure rise nearly 33 per cent, from £78,079 to £103,780.

The report highlighted that group-owned consultancies appeared to make better use of their staff to generate higher margins. Group-owned consultancies had a gross income per head of £85,671 against £75,412 per head at independents.

The productivity gap mirrored levels of pay, which averaged nearly £50,000 per head at group consultancies and £47,000 at independents.

The Red Consultancy and QBO Bell Pottinger boasted the highest operating margins of 36 per cent and 31 per cent respectively after keeping staff costs at less than 50 per cent of income.

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