AFTER the disruption caused by Covid-19, the UK PR industry has bounced back strongly, according to the Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA) annual UK PR and Communications Census. The industry has grown by slightly over 6 per cent since 2020, contributing a record £16.7bn* to the economy, and comprising an all-time high of 99,900 practitioners.
Francis Ingham (pictured), PRCA director general said, “The last eighteen months have proved beyond dispute the value that practitioners bring to business, to democracy, and to our daily lives. When the need to communicate effectively had never been greater, communicators around the UK rose to the challenge.
“While there are obviously many challenges ahead, our industry’s resilience has been verified. Its value has been confirmed. And its future is a fantastically positive one.”
This year’s research shows that 9 per cent of practitioners were furloughed after March 2020, and that 2 per cent were made redundant. Of those, 69 per cent are back to work full-time and 26 per cent are back to work part-time.
In a significant change to working patterns, only 16 per cent of practitioners have returned to their office full time.
The research reveals Covid’s toll on practitioners, with 40 per cent of practitioners saying that they have suffered from mental ill health. The PRCA’s recent Mental Wellbeing Audit highlighted that PR practitioners are significantly more likely to suffer from poor mental health than other UK subjects, with many citing their workload as the key source of stress. For example, 34 per cent of practitioners say that they make work-related calls or send-work related emails after work every day.
Female practitioners continue to earn less on average than their male counterparts. The gender pay gap is 12 per cent, with women earning an average of £48,293, and men earning an average of £55,312.
The industry’s ethnicity pay gap is 16 per cent. 46 per cent of white professionals earn an average salary of more than £50,000. In contrast, only 32 per cent of non-white professionals earn an average salary of more than that amount.
Anna Geffert, president of Women in PR, said, “The pandemic has opened the door for a reset – humanising the workplace and providing a real opportunity to place equality and diversity at the heart of our businesses. We are moving in the right direction, but now is the time to accelerate. The industry has proved its resilience and that should give us the confidence to reimagine how we recruit, promote and pay our colleagues; encouraging people from all backgrounds to join our incredible industry. Where we lead our clients will follow, so the onus is on us to raise the bar.”
*The 2021 figure is based on the 2020 value with 6 per cent industry growth rate (from PRCA Benchmarking 2020) and 0.85 per cent inflation applied.
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