WEDNESDAY 17 NOV 2021 11:40 AM


The International Communications Consultancy Organisation (ICCO) has released the latest World PR Report, revealing industry wide optimism and predicted increases in profitability, despite concerns around talent retention and mental health support.

The World PR Report was published in partnership with Opinium to deliver a current snapshot of the global PR landscape and highlight issues, trends and opportunities for agencies worldwide. Provoke Media also provided agency rankings to identify specific areas of market growth.

Overall optimism was found to be high with hopes for a more profitable year rising by almost fifty percent compared to last year’s report. Of those surveyed, 95% of PR firms are expecting an increase in client income in the next year. North America, Asia-Pacific and the United Kingdom were found to have the highest profitability expectations.

The top three growth sectors remain the same as last year, with IT and technology at the top, followed by healthcare, and financial and professional services. Agency heads predict corporate reputation, purpose and CSR, and strategic consulting to be the highest growth areas over the next five years. Strategic consulting is predicted to become the most important skills set for PR professionals in the future.

The ICCO report also signalled a growing need for PR firms to address to the digital needs of clients, as social media management, multimedia content creation and influencer communications were flagged as three of the top four areas for future investment. Artificial intelligence was deemed to be the most important technology for PR businesses in the future.

Francis Ingham, ICCO chief executive, says, “The numbers within this year’s ICCO World PR Report are reason for celebration. They show a resurgent industry, growing again, and having proved that its fundamentals were absolutely sound.”

The report dug deeper into the effects of the pandemic on PR, with 79% citing Covid-19 as having had an impact on their agency’s client fee income in the past 12 months. Mental wellbeing was still a key concern, with just 48% of global PR firms offering mental health and wellbeing support to staff.

The biggest current industry challenge was found to be retaining top talent, according to 52% of respondents. Differentiation between accurate information and fake news were also found to be a challenge for PR leaders in North America, Eastern Europe and Africa.

“Against the backdrop of such positive news, it is of course important to be realistic. Challenges of ethics, fake news, talent, mental health, and diversity remain,” adds Ingham.

Download the full World PR Report here.