Keep an eye on the IC horizon

SMEs offer a fantastic opportunity for progression in this sector, says VMA's head of internal communications practice, Andrew Harvey

The internal communications (IC) jobs market is highly active at the moment. As the market bounces back and organisations continue to free up budgets, larger businesses are looking to increase headcounts. Indeed, the balance in recruitment is now shifting towards sourcing additional IC resources.

Interestingly, the changing market has also resulted in more opportunities for IC professionals within small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). We’ve seen a real appetite from this market for IC professionals to help develop strategic plans that support business growth.

Perhaps the biggest driver behind this investment is the recognition that employees are a brand’s biggest asset. As such, CEOs, MDs and company owners are focusing efforts on creating an engaged workforce, an outcome that can only truly be achieved with the right IC strategy in place.

For IC professionals, the SME space offers a unique experience – the chance to develop and implement an IC strategy from scratch. This is a fantastic way to gain experience and gives an individual the chance to really make an impact. However, it’s important to remember that in many instances, operating within an SME could mean you have only a small team for support.

"We’re seeing SMEs seeking people not only with IC skills but also the business acumen to coach senior leaders"

Unlike in larger businesses – where an IC professional tends to work closely with fellow communications experts – individuals will be working with a wider remit of colleagues. It’s unsurprising, then, that we’re increasingly seeing SMEs seeking people with not only the technical and specialist skills to develop and implement IC plans, but also the business acumen to advise, coach and guide senior leaders. And what these clients want from a candidate is experience in driving best practice standards to create a better commercial advantage.

Obviously, being able to demonstrate the bottom line impact of any communications strategy will be beneficial when looking to secure that perfect role in an SME, but it won’t necessarily stand you out from the crowd.

Instead, in order to demonstrate an understanding of industry best practice, business decision-makers are looking for professionals with greater knowledge of innovative and successful ideas that they have learnt from other businesses.

One example of how you can achieve this is through networking at events such as the IC Showcase. At this event, IC teams present their key achievements from the past 12 months and these entries are then judged by their peers based on the contribution to the business and the increased impact of communications and innovation. Now in its fifth year, this celebration of best practice provides individuals with a unique opportunity to have their hard work recognised while also learning from others in the industry.

While it’s true that recruitment in the IC market is highly active, it can’t be overlooked that it is still a competitive arena for professionals. It’s no longer acceptable to be able to just ‘do the job’. For a candidate, demonstrating the knowledge gained through events such as the IC showcase and wider networking will stand them out from the competition.

For more details on the IC showcase, visit

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Already registered?
Sign in