40 per cent of FTSE 100 companies have no public affairs director

Nearly half of FTSE 100 companies do not have a senior public affairs function, according to a new survey.

(Credit: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
(Credit: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
Recruitment firm Watson Helsby’s annual FTSE 100 group public affairs survey received responses from 96 per cent of those companies listed.

There was a direct correlation between a FTSE 100-listed company’s market share and whether it employed a group public affairs director, Watson Helsby said.

The research said that 75 per cent of companies that did not have a public affairs function were in the bottom half of the FTSE 100.

The survey’s other key findings were that 78 per cent of those in a public affairs role at a FTSE 100 company were male.

Public affairs professionals employed by the top 20 companies received an average of £220,000, more than double the £102,000 paid to those in the rest of the FTSE 100.

Nearly 60 per cent of public affairs directors reported to the corporate affairs team while 10 per cent reported to the company’s legal team.

Nick Helsby, founding director of Watson Helsby, said: "The group FTSE 100 public affairs director role is not nearly as widespread as one might think. Many companies still operate in sectors that are minimally affected by public policy and regulatory scrutiny and activity.

"So there is deemed to be no commercial or political risk rationale for the role. The majority of companies that operate in consumer-facing industries, where there tends to be more policy – alcohol, retail, consumer technology, pharma - and social issues, will have a group public affairs director."

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