The PRCA U.S. Census reveals concern on over-reliance on AI in the PR industry

The Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA) has published the results of its U.S. PR and Communications Census, revealing pertinent issues such as industry perception, evolution, and key challenges, particularly in the aftermath of the pandemic.

This year’s research, carried out by Perspectus Global and in collaboration with the USC Annenberg Center for Public Relations, is based on survey responses from 112 senior PR and communications professionals across the U.S., with data gathered between September and December 2023.

A significant portion of respondents (70%) expressed concerns about the over-reliance on AI in PR practices, highlighting the need for a balanced approach to technology integration. Budget cuts emerged as a relevant threat, with 53% of respondents highlighting it as a major threat, a notable increase from previous years.

The census revealed the evolution of job functions among senior-level PR practitioners. Notably, there has been a marked increase in tasks related to communication strategy development (35%), reputation management (32%), and digital (27%) compared to two years ago.

Efforts to address the gender pay gap are underway, with 59% of respondents believing their organizations are taking sufficient measures. Additionally, insights into salaries and workforce dynamics reveal that senior-level PR professionals work an average of 49 hours per week.

Other key findings include:

  • 23% of respondents unsure if their workplaces actively promote diversity.
  • Senior-level PR professionals reported an average annual salary ranging from $95,678 to $250,896, depending on job titles.
  • 52% of respondents emphasized the importance of transparent and robust social purpose missions in their organizations.


PRCA CEO, James Hewes, said:

“In our second analysis of the PR industry in the US, we’ve taken a different approach, focusing on senior practitioners to capture the mood from the C-suite. At a time when strategic, economic, and technological challenges are on the rise, this approach provides valuable insights. There’s consensus on the industry’s top concerns, with budget cuts topping the list amidst media landscape turbulence. The emergence of AI poses risks, raising questions about the industry’s future demand. This report underscores the industry’s resilience and capacity for strategic adaptation, thanks to the support of our PRCA members and partners.”

Ellie Glason, Managing Director, Perspectus Global said:

“This second Census reveals how many PR and Comms senior leaders believe AI could be a threat to the industry, with seven in ten having concerns about an overreliance on this technology. However, almost three quarters think it’s likely that AI will augment existing practices rather than replacing human involvement. It’ll be fascinating to see how the industry adopts AI as the technology evolves.”

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