YARDSTICK: The state of PR before lockdown kicked in

The annual State of the Profession report has landed as a snapshot of the profession before the turmoil struck.

The 38-page report from the CIPR shows where the profession stood before lockdown.

Former CIPR President Stephen Waddington has already blogged here on the limitations of the report as a live source document. Reading through it, it’s hard to disagree, Like a reel of film taken in more carefree times it can read like a message from another time.

That said, it’s still useful as a broad set of pointers and its true value will be 12-months on when we see where the graph has taken us.

Public sector and the State of the Profession report

The report says that 30 per cent of those surveyed belong to the public sector. That’s the largest group of people that belong to the profession.

There have been dire warnings of job losses across the profession not just from the PRCA but also the prospect of 3,400 redundancies amongst the 4,000 central government communicators. In Whitehall, job descriptions will radically change for those that are left.

But the average salary in PR – £40,000 – makes me wonder if the study has really captured a snapshot of the public sector.

All this makes the data on what PR does in 2020 all the more interesting.

What the profession does

With copyrighting and editing top of the list, PR campaigns second and strategic planning third this is a recognisable landscape. Media relations are 4th, crisis management 5th and social media 6th.

For the public sector since lockdown, dealing with a crisis has eclipsed everything.

Equality and PR

What the report will be most useful for is acting as a tracker on equality. The profession remains one dominated by white people (91 per cent) who have a degree (76 per cent).

People in PR are almost twice as likely to think their family background will help them while more than 40 per cent think that a less advantaged background is a hindrance.

The pay gap between men and women has almost halved in two years and now stands at £3,658.

All this data is useful but it makes me wish for next year’s figures to see if adversity will lead to a more level playing field or not.

The CIPR State of the Profession 2020 report can be found here.

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