What’s the state of the PR profession?

Today the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) has published the results of their 2013/14 ‘State of the Profession’ survey reporting on the opinions of over 2,500 public relations professionals on issues and trends impacting current practice.

What does it reveal? That the profession is at a crossroads.

CIPR State of the Profession 201314 infographic[1]I always find this survey a useful read because it’s a good benchmark and goes into detail in areas like career development, skills and budgets.

You can follow the conversation on Twitter #stateofPR and if you choose the image on this page, it opens larger so you can view it clearly.

What does it show?

The survey highlights that whilst nine out of ten respondents wish to be acknowledged as ‘professional’, results indicate a practice which seemingly struggles to embrace its desired professional ambitions.

This is emphasised by the low level of academically or professionally qualified practitioners in PR and an overwhelming preference for ‘on the job’ experience as the most important indicator of professional standards.

Commenting, Stephen Waddington, @wadds, MCIPR, CIPR President, said: “Embracing all facets of professionalism will bring about a fundamental change in how public relations practitioners are perceived. Without a shift to professionalism, the reputation of public relations will continue to suffer.”


According to the report, only 5% of in-house PR budget is spent on internal communication, compared to 17% on media relations. Commenting on Twitter, PR Academy co-founder Kevin Ruck, @academykev, tweeted:


Expanding skill set

This year’s report also indicates that the increasing diversity of expertise required to practice public relations continues to be top of the agenda with one in three stating that the biggest challenge to Public Relations in the next five years will be an expanding skill set required of professionals.

On top of this, the integration of public relations and marketing communications departments continues to be on the rise, with more than two-thirds stating that they are now working more closely with at least one other department compared to two years ago.

Stephen added: “There is a terrific opportunity in the public relations business for anyone willing to embrace change. As social forms of media and communications impact upon every department within an organisation, we must grab the opportunity to lead that dialogue. In this climate, developing our own set of professional standards has never been more important.”

Results also highlight that CIPR members have greater confidence than non-members in embracing the challenges of the future; high satisfaction with their current skill set; a tendency to have more responsibility for directly briefing the board; and that on average, CIPR members earn just less than £10,000 more per annum than those outside of the Institute.

Blurred lines

I found it interesting to read that the integration of public relations and marketing communications departments is continuing to rise. The report states the 71% of respondents say they are now “working more closely” with at least one other department compared to two years ago (the same as in 2012).

Respondents also indicate that areas of work are increasingly being shared between multitudes of departments working more closely together.

Areas of converging responsibility come from within “the traditional remit of public relations.” These include; internal communications (54%), event management (47%), media relations (46%), and strategic planning (44%).

The most common departmental convergence occurs between marketing (48%), events (41%), and customer service (37%), with the most established area of shared responsibility being the management of social or digital media, which occurs for three out of five respondents (60%).

This tallies with the Altimeter Group report on the number of departments being responsible for social media (up to 13 different departments) – you can read that here in my state of social business 2013 article.

I’ve also written about the blurring of lines, particularly between internal and external communication numerous times including this article I wrote on communicating from the inside out using social media.

Gender gap

In relation to gender, the 2013/14 ‘State of the Profession’ survey continues to show a disparity in pay between men and women, with the mean salary for men being £12,390 greater than that for women.

I always get irked when I see information like this! But that’s a whole other blog post for another day…

Additionally, from Officer level and above, men also earn more than women when performing the same roles, a disparity that continues to rise with seniority.

Waddington concluded: “A truly professional discipline does not accept having a pay gap between men and women who are doing exactly the same jobs.” Well said!

For more information and the full report visit www.cipr.co.uk/stateofpr, you can also see it below or via SlideShare. If you wish to save it, choose the ‘save’ function on the right hand side.

What do you think of the information? Does it match with your experience? You’re welcome to tweet me @AllthingsIC or comment below with your views.

Post author: Rachel Miller

Further reading on the topic: 

Anne Gregory, Global Alliance Chair, writes about the results

Stephen Waddington, @wadds, President CIPR comments on the study

Sarah Hall, @hallmeister, CIPR Board member, blogged about the results, then

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