Job Trend: C-Level Communications Specialists Report Directly To CEOs

More than half (58%) of chief communications officers (CCOs) now report directly to the CEO of their companies, up from 48% only a year ago, according to a recent survey.

The results of the survey, conducted by executive search firm Spencer Stuart and PR Firm Weber Shandwick with KRC Research, may point to the growing role of communications specialists within an organization.

The survey also revealed another trend: 18 percent of communications departments surveyed in North America used social media or blogging as a communications tool, and social media/blogging was cited as the fastest growing communications resource for 2009. (Last year, the CCOs surveyed said the company Web site was the fastest growing tool.)

It could be that these two factoids are related: according to the CCOs surveyed, the importance of crisis management has increased 45 percent since 2007. And when social media bites your brand in the rear end (Dominos, Skittles, Motrin, and more) you’d better know how to fight back with a tool more modern than a press release.

In any case, it’s promising to see that so many public relations workers are so close to the top of the org chart.