PR Census 2013 reveals that the PR industry has grown by over £2bn in two years

The PR Census 2013 has today revealed that the UK PR industry is worth £9.62 billion – over £2 billion more than previous figures in 2011.

Launched today, the PR Census 2013 is the most comprehensive and authoritative analysis of the PR industry, developed by the Public Relations Consultants Association (PRCA) in conjunction with PRWeek and global research house YouGov.

The PR Census uses data from a survey of over 1,500 PR professionals, combined with information from the first PR Census published in 2011, the PRCA’s benchmarking studies, PRWeek’s 2013 Top 150 PR Consultancies, and Office of National Statistics tables.

Using these sources, YouGov has calculated that the PR industry contributes £9.62 billion to the UK economy, and has 62,000 employees.

Not only is the PR industry contributing more to the economy, it is earning more, developing wider expertise and feeling much more optimistic than back in 2011. We’ve earned that through sheer hard work. If ever there was proof that what we do is valuable, important and a true business imperative - this is it.
Francis Ingham, PRCA Director General
PR, like many other industries, is starting to feel as though it is emerging from the gloom, with some tough decisions behind us, and some fresh opportunities – and challenges – ahead.

With the lines between previously well-defined disciplines merging, everyone in the industry should be contemplating where we need to go next. There are no easy answers.
Alison Clarke, PRCA Chairman and Grayling UK CEO

Summary of findings

The PR market is thriving, growing significantly in revenue over the two years since the PR Census 2011.

  • In 2013, the PR industry is forecast to be worth £9.62 billion, showing an increase of around 28% on 2011 when it reached £7.5 billion.
  • In terms of headcount, it is estimated that the industry employs around 62,000 employees across consultancies, in-house PR functions and freelancers.

Overall, PR professionals are confident of continuing growth in revenues and headcount

  • Optimism is stronger agency side, with over three quarters of professionals forecasting increasing employee numbers over the next two years. While in-house has seen a trend towards headcount increases over the last two years, specialists typically predict staffing levels will remain the same.
  • The public sector remains very cautious as it continues to suffer budget cuts. Interestingly, this sector is more optimistic about revenue increases than in headcount rises.

Digital platforms continue to shape day-to-day PR roles

  • While general media relations is the top task, over 90% of industry specialists report that the importance of digital and online communication tasks has grown over the last two years.
  • Around a fifth of professionals report that sales promotion and event planning/organisation have declined in importance over the last two years.

PR professionals are rewarded with decent salaries and benefits

  • The average PR salary is almost £54,000, with the most popular bracket being £30,000- £40,000 applying to 18% of professionals. Over the last two years nearly 60% of staff have had a pay rise, with agency staff benefiting from the highest increases.
  • Over half of PR professionals answer emails or make calls out of hours on a daily basis and on average they work almost 10 hours longer a week than contracted.

An industry gaining importance despite economic challenges

  • 84% of professionals report that PR has risen in importance in the current economic climate as part of the marketing mix. There is, however, more conviction among agency staff than those employed in-house.
  • When it comes to the internal value of PR, agency professionals share a greater confidence than their in-house counterparts, suggesting that being recognised within the business mix may be a challenge for the latter.

A young, female industry profile

  • Senior roles within agencies and in-house teams are still more likely to be held by men.
  • An analysis of salary by gender shows there is less pay parity among in-house roles than within an agency setting.
  •  White British people continue to dominate the industry, with little growth in ethnic/racial diversity since 2011.

About PRCA

Who we are: Founded in 1969, the PRCA is the largest PR association in Europe, representing 12,000 people in agencies, in-house communications teams, and individuals. The PRCA promotes all aspects of public relations and internal communications work, helping teams and individuals maximise the value they deliver to clients and organisations.

What we do: The Association exists to raise standards in PR and communications, providing members with industry data, facilitating the sharing of communications best practice and creating networking opportunities.

How we do it and make a difference: All PRCA members are bound by a professional charter and codes of conduct, and benefit from exceptional training. The Association also works for the greater benefit of the industry, sharing best practice and lobbying on the industry's behalf e.g. fighting the NLA's digital licence.

Who we represent: The PRCA represents many of the major consultancies in the UK, and currently has more than 350 agency members from around the world, including the majority of the top 150 UK consultancies. We also represent over 150 in-house communications teams from multinationals, UK charities and leading UK public sector organisations.

photo:Matt Cartmell
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Matt Cartmell
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