CIPR State of the Profession 2015

The CIPR State of the Profession Survey 2015, conducted in partnership with Survation, covered the trends, issues, opportunities and challenges facing the business of public relations as revealed by research conducted with over 2,000 PR professionals.

For the first time, the research analysed the 'Educational background' of PR practitioners, 'Happiness & wellbeing', and an in-depth analysis of 'Gender balance & equal pay'. This is in addition to covering 'Skills & competencies', 'Salaries', 'Diversity', 'Budgets', 'Public relations strategy & the board', 'Hallmarks of professionalism', 'The changing nature of public relations', and 'Future challenges'.

Key findings

Inter-departmental convergence is a clear and growing trend

  • All in-house PR professionals are now working "more closely" than "less closely" with every single department in their organisations (marketing, sales, IT, HR etc.), than compared to two years ago.

Competencies in-demand from junior and senior hires remain focused on traditional PR skills

  • 64% of all PR professionals identify traditional PR skills (written communication, interpersonal skills etc.) as key competencies when hiring junior and senior candidates, this is compared to 20% who identify digital/technical PR skills (SEO, HTML and coding, etc.) as key competencies.

Equal pay has been scrutinized in a unique level of detail

  • A clear pay inequality gap of £8,483 exists in favour of men, and is a figure that cannot be explained by any other factor such as length of service, seniority, parenthood, or a higher prevalence of part-time work amongst women. Findings also reveal the biggest influences on the salaries of all public relations professionals; with gender identified as the third biggest influence on salary, more so than education background, sector of practice, graduate status, and full-time/part-time status.

Professional standards are a work in progress

  • 96% of practitioners say professionalism is important to them, yet 55% of PR professionals believe "satisfying clients/employers" define professional standards, and 79% of PR professionals believe "experience in a PR role" is a professional's most valuable asset.

Dangerously high levels of workplace stress are more common than not for those in senior management

  • 51% of senior managers in PR identify as being "extremely stressed" or "very stressed" in their roles.