FRIDAY 3 MAR 2017 12:30 PM

STATE OF PR

In a time of tweets and hashtags, anyone with a social media account can join the conversation about a company, widening the traditional PR terrain. Adapting to the digital landscape, modern PR agencies are now focusing on creating engaging multimedia content and optimizing their clients’ social media presence. Searching for new ways to reach audiences, there was a 10% rise from 2016 in the number of industry professionals spending time on strategic planning, according to research published annually by the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR).

The #StateOfPR study reveals that strategic planning is now the third most common task for PR practitioners, following close behind content creation (81%) and media relations (73%). Agencies are looking for unique ways to position their clients and foster relationships with their target audiences and influencers. Upskilling with strategists facilitates this broadening of remit. Photo and video creation is also on the rise, with 7% more respondents indicating it was one of their daily tasks, highlighting the importance of high quality content in social PR campaigns. According to the ranking, email marketing, web design and coding and advertising take the last spots for tasks professionals spend the least time on.

With the need to integrate social media into their practices, PR professionals are looking for candidates who have a sound proficiency with new media when filling junior positions. Top skills include traditional written communication (84%), attention to detail (80%) and a grasp on digital and social communications (78%). Yet the expected competencies change with seniority, as top skills for those in high lever positions focus on leadership and strategic management, with an appreciation of current industry trends.

Other findings from the study touch on attitudes toward diversity in the workplace. As budgets are tightening and being cut, the average PR salary rose to £50,447 in 2016. Despite a gender ratio of 61% female to 39% male in the industry, the gender divide remains and sits at £5,784 gap in favour of men. For the senior positions in the profession, only 5% of women earn over £100,000, as compared to 11% of men. Surveyed on racial diversity, a considerable percentage (60%) of respondents believe that diverse teams produce better campaigns, however a look at the demographics of respondents reveals that 90% identify as white – signaling there is growth to be had in the PR sphere.

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