Will the industry's London-bias thwart its future success?

London has long established itself as a global business, creative and media hub resulting in so many agencies and clients being based there.

Drop the London-bias to improve the health of the industry, argues Sian Gaskell
Drop the London-bias to improve the health of the industry, argues Sian Gaskell

And for a time, location was more significant – but is the cost of the Capital taking its toll?  

Having read the recent article on the total cost of commuting, it left me with questions about how long the London-centric PR bias can be sustained?  And at what cost to the future of the UK PR industry? 

We live now in technology-enabled times where we can be virtually in the same room as someone thousands of miles away. 

I admit that before I made the move out of London, I was blinkered about the career opportunities that existed outside of the M25. 

I believe that too much emphasis is placed on postcodes and the perceived kudos of a London address, rather than on skillsets and what an employer can offer closer to home.

With technology, changing working patterns and more emphasis being placed on the importance of work/life balance and wellbeing, the reality of the London bias – e.g. the cost of commuting & childcare and the toll it takes on daily life – is being exposed.   

The value and future of the UK PR industry is firmly linked to harnessing the right talent and making them aware of the opportunities that exist across the country.  

This year’s PRCA Census estimated that the industry is worth £14.9 billion to the UK economy, highlighting how healthy the industry is across cities and rural locations as well as the emergence of several PR hubs including Birmingham, Manchester, Oxford, Bristol.

If this London-bias continues, and entry-level candidates believe that their first step for their PR career has to be in London we will be missing out on a talent pool and limiting the future success of the industry.

Sian Gaskell, managing director of CubanEight


It is a big part of the PR industry’s role to appeal to new entrants and provide a true representation of PR as a career across the UK. 

If this London-bias continues, and entry-level candidates believe that their first step for their PR career has to be in London – and are put off by living and travel costs and the resultant stress - we will be missing out on a talent pool and limiting the future success of the industry.  

Good PR makes a real difference to businesses across the UK and provides amazing career opportunities. 

There is no denying the importance of London to the PR industry, but physically being there is not essential.  

The PR industry already has a bad reputation for long working hours and the toll that this takes mentally and physically.  

But there is a shift happening; with agencies and organisations recognising the importance of a good work/life balance, flexible working and embracing technology to collaborate, which means the significance of physical location recedes. 

If we continue to embrace that as an industry, we are moving in the right direction to safeguarding its future effectiveness and value.  

Sian Gaskell is managing director of CubanEight

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