Key takeouts from CIPR’s State of the Profession 2019 survey

The Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) has just released its annual State of the Profession survey. Here are its main findings, including higher salaries, mental health epidemic and PR’s diversity and inclusion problem.

#1 The industry faces “mental health epidemic”

Mental health issues is not a new trend in the industry. Sadly, just over one fifth (21 per cent) of surveyed live with, or have previously lived with, a diagnosed mental health condition. Based on the Office for National Statistics (ONS) UK PR population data, this equates to more than 16,000 public relations professionals.

53 per cent of practitioners said work contributed highly to the diagnosis, with unrealistic deadlines and unsociable hours being cited as common causes of mental health issues.

The average score of practitioners asked to rate the stressfulness of their job out of 10 was 6.7. Almost a quarter (23 per cent) said that they had taken sickness absence from work on the grounds of stress, anxiety and depression. 

#2 Public relations practitioners earn more…

As the survey highlights, the profession continues to grow.

The salaries of full-time practitioners grew by almost £1,500 to £53,044 per annum. The average salary is now £51,804, with median figure being £30,000.

Chartered practitioners earn an average of £18,000 more per year than the average respondent, with those with a professional qualification earning on an average £3,800 more.

#3 …yet the gender pay gap progress is “modest”

The pay inequality between men and women has fallen by £1,523 to a still significant £5,202.

The State of the Profession report has surveyed 1,503 respondents (compared to 1,752 in 2018) between 9 November and 14 December 2018.

#4 Diversity and inclusion

The industry is two-thirds (67 per cent) female but men occupy nearly half (44 per cent) of the industry’s most senior roles.

What’s more, over a quarter (28 per cent) of respondents said they had attended a fee-paying school. This is four times higher than the national UK average of 7 per cent.

The majority (81 per cent) of practitioners come from the English, Welsh, Scottish, Northern Irish or British background.

The vast majority (92 per cent) of practitioners classify themselves as white, compared to 88 per cent in 2015. This year, 89 per cent of practitioner respondents identified as heterosexual, up from 85 per cent the previous year.

#5 Copywriting as the top skill

Copywriting and editing are the top skills which employers seek in the recruits. This applies to both senior (50 per cent), as well as junior (a whopping 73 per cent).

Media relations remains the second most sought after activity — 48 per per cent for senior roles and 58 per cent for juniors.

Senior professionals will be expected to execute PR programmes and campaigns (48 per cent), and juniors will be expected to carry out social media relations (45 per cent).


You can download the survey from here. Make sure to follow CIPR on Twitter, @CIPR_UK.

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