PRCA Consultancy Barometer reveals growth in PR and communications industry, despite Brexit

The PR and communications industry is thriving with many leaders in the PR and communications industry reporting increased budgets, increased new business, and optimism about their own consultancy.

The findings in the PRCA Consultancy Barometer Q1 2017 revealed that 32% of clients had marginally or significantly increased their budgets, with 52% of client budgets remaining the same. No clients had significantly decreased budgets in the last quarter.

In addition to this, when asked to describe levels of new business, 48% of consultancies described them as busy, and 22% of consultancies described them as very busy. Only 12% of consultancies described the last quarter as quiet, and no consultancy said that it was very quiet.

Looking directly at whether new business was primarily through new or existing clients, 36% reported it came from existing clients, compared to 64% from new clients.

Optimism levels continue to be highly positive: 46% of PR and communications leaders state that the quarter made them more optimistic about their own consultancy; 38% reported that their optimism had stayed the same and just 16% felt less optimistic.

Outside of their own organisation, 36% of PR and communications consultancy leaders reported that the last quarter had made them feel more optimistic about the industry. 50% reported no change to their overall outlook, and just 14% said that they felt less optimistic because of the last quarter.

PR and communications leaders were less optimistic about the health of the UK economy, despite overwhelming optimism about their own businesses and the industry. Around 52% of consultancies expected the UK economy to worsen over the next 12 months, marking a significant increase from last quarter’s figure of 31%; 38% of respondents expected the economy to improve or stay the same.

Agency leaders were more positive about staff levels with 58% of leaders reporting that they will increase, 38% reporting that they will stay the same and only 4% stating that they will decrease.

Over-servicing levels have remained stable in the last quarter: 64% said that they had stayed the same, while 22% said that they had increased. Only 14% said that they had decreased.

Francis Ingham MPRCA, Director General, PRCA, said: “Despite uncertainty about the economy in general, the PR and communications industry is booming.

This benchmarking report brings plenty of good news -we have seen increases in client budgets, in staff numbers, and in new business levels. Industry leaders are, however, paying close attention to the ongoing Brexit negotiations. Like any other sector, the PR and communications industry wants a deal that delivers maximum growth and stability to underpin the fundamental strengths that we enjoy currently.”

Jaclyn Thorburn MPRCA, Director of Strategic Communications, Oracle said: “The first quarter of 2017, much like the start to previous years, has been a noticeably busier time for the Oracle Group, in terms of new business opportunities, business development, and the growth of our team. From our point of view, it’s an exciting time for PR, marketing, and communications; we welcome the push for more creative content and ideas across PR and social media, and we are keen to help drive the digital marketing agenda, taking our clients with us.”



Who we are: Founded in 1969, the Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA) is a UK-based PR and communications membership body, operating in 49 countries around the world. We represent in excess of 20,000 people across the whole range of the PR and communications industry. The PRCA promotes all aspects of public relations and 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.

photo:Matt Cartmell
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Matt Cartmell
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