FRIDAY 4 AUG 2017 4:33 PM


Recent findings in the PRCA’s Consultancy Barometer reveal an increased optimism within portions of the PR and communications industry, despite a challenging economic terrain. The study, covering the second quarter of this year, recorded that 45% of agency heads felt positive about their own consultancies, with as little as 12% feeling less optimistic. Yet the research also pointed to sentiments of precaution, as 63% of respondents believe the economy could worsen in the coming months.

The PRCA Consultancy Barometer is a quarterly inspection of the PR and communications industry. First released in 2011, the research underpins the mood of the industry, garnering qualitative responses across a diverse and representative body of respondents. With the last calendar year bringing several new challenges to various professional sectors, this year’s rise in optimism holds further significance for PR and communications professionals.

The study revealed that 59% of consultancies experienced busy levels of new business in the last quarter, with 24% suggesting that the period was quiet. These figures are matched by 45% of agency heads predicting that staff numbers will increase and 49% suggesting they’ll remain the same. Only 6% of respondents believe that staff numbers will drop. Yet despite the augmented levels of optimism, 58% of respondents felt the same about the wider PR and communications industry, as 18% recorded diminished feelings of optimism after the last quarter.

Francis Ingham, MPRCA and director general of the PRCA, says, “While agency heads remain optimistic about their own companies' prospects, and those of the industry as a whole, their view of the broader economy is overwhelmingly negative. PR and communications leaders are prepared for challenging times ahead. Given the fundamental strengths of our industry, I am confident that we will meet those challenges successfully. But we should not kid ourselves -sentiment has taken a definitive turn for the worse over the past couple of months.”