PR industry defies tough times with growth to £9.62bn

The UK PR industry has grown by more than £2bn in the past two years, according to a Census published by PRWeek in partnership with the PRCA.

Growth: the PR industry is expected to be worth £9.62bn this year
Growth: the PR industry is expected to be worth £9.62bn this year

The Census, which will be examined in more detail by PRWeek tomorrow, shows that the industry is expected to be worth £9.62bn this year, up from its £7.5bn level two years ago.

Despite the economic challenges, headcount is also slightly up with 62,000 people employed within the industry this year.

This compares to an estimated 61,600 headcount in 2011, as productivity rises from £121,753 to £155,162 per head – a boost of more than £30,000 per employee on average.

This has led to bigger rewards for PR agency staffers with salaries increasing to an industry average of just under £54,000, up £5,500 from two years ago.

Overall, optimism within the industry has risen, with the industry confident of a boost in revenues and staffing numbers following half a decade of economic decline. Some 77 per cent of agency staff forecast increased revenues and 76 per cent expected a rise in head count.

Although less confident, 47 per cent of in-house PR professionals expected an increase in revenues with 32 per cent expecting greater staff numbers.

Despite the positive noises, beneath the headlines there are problems to be addressed as the PR profession remains predominately white (91 per cent) and British (90 per cent).

There is also an imbalance in the gender divide as women represent 63 per cent of the total industry.

Like many professions this does not translate to the boardroom, where they are hugely outnumbered in board level roles. Only a woeful 13 per cent of females surveyed have a place on the board while 29 per cent of men are offered the key to the executive washroom.

Comms director roles are occupied by just five per cent of women compared with 12 per cent of their male counterparts.

The latest PR Census was conducted through YouGov using an online poll of PRWeek members and PRCA subscribers.  

The full survey is available on the PRWeek app today (Tuesday 17 December), on the PRWeek website tomorrow (Wednesday 18 December) and in the December issue of PRWeek, out now.

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