The Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA)’s UK PR and Communications Census for 2021 has heartening financial results for the industry as a whole, but a clear message that more needs to be done on fair compensation for practitioners.
According to the Census, sponsored and carried out by 3Gem, the PR and comms sector has grown over 6% since last year and has contributed a record £16.7 billion to the UK economy. While 9% of practitioners were furloughed following March 2020, with 2% were made redundant, 69% are back to work full-time, with 26% now working part-time.
The long-term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are clear throughout the findings. Only 16% of practitioners are back to full-time in-office working. When it comes to mental health – a major pressure point within the profession, as shown by the PRCA’s recent Mental Wellbeing Audit – 40% of those polled admitted to suffering from mental ill health.
One long-term problem beyond the pandemic is the industry’s pay gap, which continues to be an issue. The current gender pay gap is 12%, with women earning an average of £48,293, and men an average of £55,312. The ethnicity pay gap is even worse, at 16% – 46% of white professionals earn over £50,000 on average, while just 32% of non-white practitioners earn an average salary of more.
‘I applaud the buoyancy in this year’s Census while welcoming you to the world of Black, Asian, mixed race and ethnically diverse practitioners,’ says PRCA REEB Chair Barbara Phillips.
‘Revenues up? Great! Let’s be rid of the 16% ethnicity pay gap. The PRCA Race and Ethnicity Equity Board has led the way in 2020 and showed everyone how. Employees returning to the office? Great; let’s dismantle the toxic cultures that meant many non-white groups found sanctuary working from home (especially Black women) and are now reluctant to come back to microaggressions and lower pay. It’s great to be back but let’s leave the discrimination behind and instead create psychologically safe cultures where all protected groups are welcomed, then perhaps, we can say our industry is finally moving in the right direction.’
‘While there are obviously many challenges ahead, our industry’s resilience has been verified,’ said PRCA Director General Francis Ingham. ‘Its value has been confirmed. And its future is a fantastically positive one.’
President of Women in PR Anna Geffert also sees great opportunity in the results of the Census:
‘The pandemic has opened the door for a reset – humanising the workplace and providing a real opportunity to place equality and diversity at the heart of our businesses. We are moving in the right direction, but now is the time to accelerate. The industry has proved its resilience and that should give us the confidence to reimagine how we recruit, promote and pay our colleagues; encouraging people from all backgrounds to join our incredible industry. The onus is on us to raise the bar.’
Read the full PRCA PR and Communications Census 2021 here on the website.
Find out more about PRCA REEB in our previous interview with its Chair Barbara Phillips.