PR And Communications
14th May 2018

Big Cat’s key takeaways from the PR and Communications Census 2018.

The PRCA recently launched its annual census report. Sponsored by Norstat, the report revealed the industry’s size and how much it contributes to the economy, alongside demographics, salaries, industry prospects, and how PR professionals feel about the pressing issues of growth, revenues and budgets. The report showed that there are 86,000 people working in our industry generating a value of almost £14 billion and it’s still growing. Here, Christie Buet, Communications Director from Big Cat gives her thoughts:

Diversity results

  • The PR and communications industry continues to be a female dominated industry: 66% of the industry is female. It is also an overwhelmingly young industry: the average industry practitioner is 29 years old.
  • Diversity in the industry has improved slightly and the industry is less White and British today compared to two years ago. In 2018, the PR and communications industry is 89% White, down from 91%; and it is 86% British, down from 89% in 2016.
  • 81% of the industry holds an undergraduate degree, and 69% of the industry have been educated at a statefunded or state-run school.

Gender pay gap results

  • The gender pay gap in the PR and communications industry is 21%, up from 17.8% in 2016. The pay disparity is £11,364, which has increased by £2,253 since 2016.

Employee wellbeing results

  • PR and communications professionals continue to work beyond their contracted hours. They generally work 10 more hours a week than their contracted 35 hours.
  • 41% of PR and communications professionals make work-related calls or answer emails outside of work hours every day of the week.
  • The preferred forms of flexible working are flexitime and working from home one day a week. The number of PR professionals working from home has increased to 33% this year.

“Diversity in the UK has improved slightly but that said, the midlands are seeing the lowest rate of males in the industry so more needs to be done to attract male talent or at least retain them in the region, for example, we need to think of ways to keep graduates in the region instead of heading off to London. However, if we want to attract the best talent, we need more modern, inclusive environments.”

“It is disappointing to see that the gender pay gap has increased. It’s an interesting result given that the industry is a female dominated one. Why are we seeing so many women entering the industry but less equally represented at the top? More definitely needs to be done to address this. An obvious one being job flexibility to those choosing to have families, enabling them to sustain senior positions. The job is far from a simple 9-5 one. Emails and phone calls are exchanged out of hours, evening and weekend events have to be attended so it seems reasonable to have that flexibility  when managing 24/7 clients.”

What do we do?

  • The leading duties in the industry are corporate public relations, communications strategy development, and general media relations.
  • Technology, consumer services, and business services are the dominant sectors for which agencies and freelancers work.
  • PR and communications agencies are most likely to be made up of 11-25 people, with an average annual turnover of between £500,000 and £2.5 million. In-house PR and communications teams are most likely to be made up of 2-5 people.


  • 56% of the industry describe PR as a profession; 35% see it as an industry. The Barcelona Principles 2.0 are the preferred evaluation method – 24% of the industry use this method. However, 12% of the industry still uses AVEs.
  • The leading tasks that have increased in importance are digital, online communications, and reputation management.
  • Sales promotion, general media relations, and writing articles or newsletters have decreased in importance in the past two years.

“The property and construction sector is dominating agency work in the Midlands. With the regeneration of our city and a surge in major projects in the region like HS2, this work is only going to continue. Now is the time for the Midlands to start attracting more tech brands given the growth of Birmingham’s digital infrastructure and the potential for Channel 4 to move to the region – this kind of investment will provide a lot more opportunity to open up conversations with some of the bigger tech brands which typically tend to stay in London.”

“With regards to measurement, it’s great to see that were making progress in way of evaluating and demonstrating the impact of communications although worryingly, 33% say they don’t do any measurement at all.  If we cannot accurately measure what we do, how can we expect people to invest? The report states that 12% are using AVE, however it is very likely that this forms part of a range of KPI factors. Making the most of all the data that is now available to us is really important in demonstrating value.”  

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