I occasionally like to focus this blog on trends in the public relations field, both in the practice of PR and the potential for jobs for new graduates and current practitioners. There was good news for present and future public relations professionals this week, as the USC Annenberg Strategic Communication and Public Relations Center released its eighth biennial Communication and Public Relations Generally Accepted Practices (GAP VIII) Study. Participants included 347 senior communications professionals in corporations, government agencies and non-profit organizations, and was supported by the leading professional associations in the field. Here are some encouraging results from the 50-question survey:
- In 2014, 40% of public company respondents expected their PR/communication budgets to increase over 2013 levels. In 2013, 60% experienced budget increases over 2012.
- The survey noted that 40% of the respondents experiencing staff growth in 2014 over 2013 outnumbered those expecting flat or reduced staff size. Thirty-eight percent (38%) reported staff growth in 2013 over 2012.
- Almost 40% of respondents reported that PR/communication plays an active role in organizational strategic planning, while 15% strongly disagree and 45% are neutral. Fifty-nine percent (59%) agree that PR/communication’s recommendations are taken seriously by senior management, while 9% strongly disagree and 32% are neutral.
- Of the GAP VIII study respondents, 44% agree that their senior leadership believes PR/communication contributes to financial success, while 6% strongly disagree and a substantial 50% are neutral.
- Forty-three percent (43%) have a solid reporting line to the CEO, president or chairman (collectively referred to as the C-Suite), and 43% have both a dotted line to the C-Suite and a solid line to another function, including 26% who have a solid line to marketing and a dotted line to the C-Suite. Only 14% have no line whatsoever to the C-Suite, which is good news for PR practitioners who understand the importance of having a “seat at the table” when decisions are made.
- According the GAP VIII, “Industries in which the majority of respondents expected staff growth in 2014 include energy, natural resources, finance, insurance, manufacturers/marketers of B-to-B products, professional services, retailing, and transportation/shipping.”
PR is not only an exciting field in which to work with a plethora of career options, it’s vital and growing and important. And a survey this comprehensive proves it. Your thoughts?