News: 56 per cent of PR agencies to increase fees – PRCA ICCO Confidence Tracker finds

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MORE than a half (56 per cent) of PR agencies across the world will increase client fees in the next six months, according to the latest PRCA ICCO Confidence Tracker research.

CEOs, directors, and department heads across five continents took part in the latest PRCA and ICCO quarterly Confidence Tracker, which assesses market confidence in public relations around the world.

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Of those increasing fees, 46 per cent of respondents expect to increase fees by up to 10 per cent, while 8 per cent plan to increase fees by as much as 20 per cent in the next six months.

The study – conducted by Question and Retain – also reveals declining levels of confidence amongst PR and communications leaders, which is consistent with wider economic trends in the UK professional market. The research shows 77 per cent of respondents are ‘very confident’ or ‘quite confident’ about the future of their organization – this is a six percentage point decrease since the last Confidence Tracker in June 2022.

Other findings show that only 22 per cent of respondents charge a flat hourly rate and only 31 per cent have no plans to increase fees in the short term.

PRCA director general Francis Ingham (pictured) said, “The macro-economic environment presents clear challenges to our industry. Our latest data shows most practitioners are set to increase fees over the coming months. Now more than ever, communications professionals need to demonstrate the value they bring. We must assert our value with confidence and that comes through measuring the impact of our activity against the objectives of our organizations.”

ICCO president Grzegorz Szczepanski said, “It is encouraging that only 22 per cent of agencies are charging by a flat hourly rate only. Too often we undervalue our work and end up over servicing clients, so to see 17 per cent of members charging only by the value they deliver or project rates is progress but we would like to see that number grow.”

“Economic pressures are having an impact across the globe, with inflation driving up the cost of running a successful PR business. It is not surprising that 56 per cent of agencies are planning to increase fees over the next six months. Members must not hesitate to charge appropriately for the value they deliver to clients, as businesses in all industries evaluate prices they must charge to operate effectively.”

Pulse checks were carried out among over 5000 ICCO agency members across five continents on a quarterly basis between April 2020 and September 2022. Of those who opened the survey and responded, the response rate is 21 per cent.