PRCA survey shows profit growth

PR agencies’ profits grew from an average of 12 per cent to 14 per cent between 2002 and 2003, according to the PRCA’s annual Benchmarking Survey.

The results, unveiled by Lexis CEO Hugh Birley and Carrot Communications MD Richard Houghton last week, echoed the broadly positive findings of the PRWeek Top 150 (23 April), in which 70 per cent of the top 150 agencies recorded fee income growth during 2003.

The PRCA said 63 per cent of agencies are ‘likely’ to recruit senior staff this year – 21 per cent up from last year.

But the ‘overservicing’ of accounts is running at an average of 26 per cent – an unwelcome development that, Birley and Houghton argued, agency bosses should aim to reduce.

Threats to profits are also coming from clients diverting budgets into other

marketing disciplines and the cost of pitching for new business.

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act prohibited firms that are affiliated to US-listed groups from taking part.

News Analysis, p17

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