CIPR releases analysis of Census data shedding new light on PR Population

The Chartered Institute for Public Relations (CIPR) has published the most accurate and comprehensive study to date of the public relations profession, providing a unique look into its diversity, employment patterns, and demographic shifts within England and Wales.

The PR Population Report – delivered in partnership with Chalkstream – is the first published analysis by the Office for National Statistics of Census 2021 data exclusively related to PR practitioners. It finds a PR population in England and Wales of 63,563 practitioners and notes a contrast to previous population estimates, shedding new light on the industry’s size and scope. For example, the 2017 analysis of the Annual Population Survey (APS) found 4,000 more PR practitioners in England and Wales. Census 2021 data from Scotland and Northern Ireland specific to public relations practitioners is not currently available for analysis.

The data suggests that there is still some way to go in improving the diversity of the sector. Where 60% of practitioners are women, for instance, just 46% of directors identify as female.

Meanwhile, the report found that 87% of PR practitioners are of a white ethnic background, though they make up 90% of directors. However, with the CIPR receiving the National Equality Standard (NES) in November 2023, and with the launch of its recent Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) strategy, the Institute is already taking action to drive significant change within the PR sector on EDI.

Notably, the report also reveals the profession’s commitment to mental and physical well-being with 94% of practitioners believing they are in good or very good health. There will be several positive influencing factors behind this, not least the youthfulness of the profession, as 45% of all practitioners are aged between 16 and 34 years old.

 The report’s key findings include:

  • 60% of PR practitioners are female and 40% are male and at the Director group level, 46% of practitioners are female and 54% are male
  • The PR profession remains a typically young industry, with 45% of practitioners aged between 16 and 34 years old
  • In terms of ethnic background, 87% of PR practitioners are White ethnicity, 5% Asian, 4% Mixed ethnicity, and 3% Black
  • 84% of practitioners were born in the UK. Among those practitioners born outside the UK, 38% were born in EU countries, 18% in the Middle East or Asia, and 14% in Africa

The CIPR is hosting a free webinar on understanding and interpreting the data within the PR Population report with report author, Ben Verinder, on Thursday 22 February, 1-2pm.

CIPR President Rachael Clamp Chart.PR FCIPR

The report’s findings capture an interesting snapshot of the PR industry’s demographic background. And while the industry’s strides, since the Census data was collected in 2021, must be celebrated, the report’s statistics confirm that the sector must continue to provide equal opportunities for all. It is only then that true inclusion and diversity within the PR industry and beyond can be achieved. 

The data provides the most accurate picture of the profession but does come with some caveats, as outlined in the report. It does, however, appear as if the growth of the industry was stunted during the pandemic or has not grown as expected in recent years; opinions on this will differ. This is why we must continue working to maintain our relevance and value to the organisations we represent and having these insights now will help us do that as we are developing our 2025-2029 strategy.

CIPR President Rachael Clamp Chart.PR FCIPR

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