STUDY: Comms Industry Still Stressful, Still Sexist

The CIPR's new report is...unsurprising.


These guys are doing just fine, though.

British people: they’re just like us, but with better manners!

The UK’s CIPR or Chartered Institute of Public Relations released its annual “State of the Profession” report today, and we have to say that the state of the industry (overseas) is strong…if you’re a man in a senior position who doesn’t have problems dealing with stress.

Key finding:

The average difference in male and female PR salaries is £13,887, or more than $21,000.

The UK version of PR Week tells us, condescendingly, that parenthood, seniority, and a greater incidence of part-time work among women account for less than half of that difference. And they didn’t even mention maternity leave by name! In short (and we already know this), women don’t make as much money as men and they don’t hold as many senior positions in agencies.

There’s more.

Gender is the third most influential factor in determining salary, which means that it’s more important than:

  • Educational background
  • Area of specialty
  • Full-time/part-time employment status

This is a surprisingly awful finding! The other big one is that people in senior management are under a whole lot of stress:

  • 51 percent of senior managers say they’re either “very stressed” or “extremely stressed” in their day-to-day jobs

Maybe they’re so anxious because they know how many of the women who work below them could do their jobs better. Some other key findings:

  • PR professionals across the board are working more closely with those in other departments than ever before — especially digital/social and marketing

This finding fits with our recent interview with Peppercomm President Ted Birkhahn, who told us that “Most of our client contacts work in marketing…we don’t even deal with PR people anymore.”

Yet, despite all this focus on social and digital, recruiters still value the old school skills when hiring for both senior and junior positions:

  • 64 percent of respondents emphasize written comms and interpersonal skills
  • Only 20 percent focus on SEO, HTML, coding, and other such digital competencies

For this reason, there’s a noticeable gap between younger (digital) and older (paper) employees…and this MAY be one reason why the PR industry has so far failed to “own” social.

In yet another unsurprising but discouraging finding, a majority of respondents said that “satisfying clients” is a better indicator of professionalism than abiding by ethical standards.

CIPR President Sarah Pinch writes:

“As an industry we have to become better equipped and more confident in order to embrace the additional opportunities and challenges that are coming our way.

Professionalism is about standards, quality, ethical working and assurance of our work to employers, employees, colleagues and clients. It is not about being paid well or popular, described in the report as ‘satisfying clients and/or employers’.

To be considered at all professional, we must also tackle equal pay head on, which is an embarrassment to an industry dominated by women.”

Well, yes.

The interactive infographic is fun.