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[ #StateofPRprofession 2020: key points from The Chartered Institute of Public Relations ]

#ConfidentInsight, News 23.07.2020

The Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR)’s State of the Profession report recently released has underlined once again the trends, issues, and challenges impacting public relations, presenting industry-leading data on a range of aspects relating to the PR profession. The report explores skills, salaries, diversity, challenges facing the profession, the gender pay gap as well as issues such as mental health, and allows us to authoritatively comment on how the profession has changed over the years.

For this years’s edition, the report delivered in partnership with Chalkstream delves into the issue of social mobility and explores the background and views of PR practitioners compared to the general population. It also looks into the idea of public relations as a professional community and, if so, what practitioners want to get out of it.

What’s to consider?

  • 37% of PR practitioners think family background has a positive impact on one’s career, a belief shared by only 20% of the wider public. Another 40% in PR believe one’s background has no impact on where they end up, compared to 60% of the public who are of this view. In other words, the impact of family background appears to hold greater significance to people working in PR.


  • Media relations falls out of the top three most commonly identified activities for the first time, PR programmes and campaigns and strategic planning being on top.


  • A new entry this year for most commonly undertaken PR activity is influencer relations, while events, conferences, internal communication and crisis management have lost their 2018 ranks. Yet, the survey was finished just before the pandemic crisis, so probably charts will appear completely different next year.


  • The top two challenges facing the profession are now identified as the under representation of PR at board level and not being seen as a professional discipline. Respondents identified the under representation of public relations practitioners at board level as the number one challenge (up from second place in 2019) whereas, the changing social and digital landscape – the top challenge in the previous two surveys is now in third. Moreover, unethical PR practices and emergence of fake news are also challenges they see facing the industry which are higher in rank this year.


  • Over half of respondents had worked in another industry before entering PR. The most common industry in which practitioners formerly worked was, by a considerable margin, media and publishing.


  • As strongest attributes of the PR profession, writing ability and emotional intelligence ranks the same, while research, planning, implementation and evaluation means more than crisis communication or business acumen.


  • In UK -The profession has collectively reduced its gender pay gap by 46% since 2018. Among practitioners with up to four years’ experience, women now earn £1,687 on average more than men. However, the pay gap widens with experience with women in Directors, Partners and Managing Directors roles earning over £19,000 less than males in equivalent roles.


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