Credit crunch fillip for internal comms

There is mounting evidence that internal comms is proving resilient to the economic turmoil that is beginning to hit other parts of the PR industry.

Evidence: VMA's Butler
Evidence: VMA's Butler

PRWeek has seen figures showing that a major recruitment specialist is seeing more and more internal comms vacancies. There has also been a spate of appointments in recent weeks, with HSBC, Brunswick and Hill & Knowlton all hiring internal comms chiefs.

Figures from VMA Group, the comms sector recruitment specialist, show that in August 2008, 51 per cent of its ‘active’ comms jobs were in external comms, compared with 49 per cent in internal comms. But the percentage of internal comms jobs has been steadily rising and now stands at 66 per cent.

Charlotte Butler, associate director of VMA’s internal comms practice, said: ‘Internal comms is going up the corporate agenda. Where the recession hits and there are redundancies, this still needs to be communicated internally and CEOs are becoming more mindful of that.’

Sarah Leembruggen, managing partner at The Works Recruitment, said: ‘Internal comms hiring is still growing, but external comms is largely restricted to replacement.’

This week, Jo Alexander, previously global finance communication manager at Shell, joined HSBC in a newly created role as global head of internal communications.

In the agency world, Brunswick has recruited Debra Westlake, previously global head of employee communications at UBS, as director of its internal comms division.

Hill & Knowlton has hired Jon Scott, formerly of Royal Sun Alliance, to expand its internal comms practice.

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