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PR and Communications Census 2018: disturbing trends revealed


The PRCA published the latest PR and Communications Census on Tuesday and I couldn’t miss the opportunity to attend the launch event in the office of Golin London to learn about its findings.

The Census covers an industry that’s in good health – there are now more than 86,000 PR practitioners in the UK – but it also reveals some disturbing trends.

The PR industry remains predominantly female. Danny Rogers, Editor of PRWeek, talked about the 90s stereotype that if you are a woman in the PR industry, you will organise parties just like Absolutely Fabulous. But it’s not the 90s any more. Our industry has made significant progress since the social media boom, he said. PR ideas transform businesses now – just look at the Fearless Girl female empowerment campaign. But even though the industry has moved on – and 66 per cent of PR practitioners are women – there is still 21 per cent gender pay gap in the sector. 

Another finding that struck me was that 12 per cent of PR professionals still use the relatively outdated AVEs to measure their activities. If we cannot accurately measure what we do, how can we expect people to invest in us? I am happy that Red Setter, where I am currently on placement, is in line with 24 per cent of our fellow practitioners (according to the Census) by basing our evaluation on the Barcelona Principles 2.0.

Francis Ingham, the Director of the PRCA, pointed out the increasing diversity of the industry, with more representation from the LGBT, minority and disabled communities than ever before. He said the PRCA is working hard to provide a good working environment for this diverse community, as well as tackling the gender pay gap and creating a measurement system that proves PR’s worth to a sceptical world.

Francis concluded by celebrating the balance he sees in the PR industry, with traditional PR – which includes media relations and reputation management – working hand-in-hand with the ‘new’ PR centred on digital channels and social media.

What a time this is to be working in the PR industry!