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London, 9th July – The PRCA’s quarterly Barometer of consultancy MDs reveals that the PR industry is continuing to grow despite the gloomy national predictions.

Industry growth is primarily due to increased client budgets (net 16% increase), supported by high levels of new business (64% of new business is from new clients), with 68% of survey respondents being either busy or very busy with new clients. However over-servicing levels (net 13% increase) remain stubbornly high, corroborated by the PRCA’s annual Benchmarking figures.

The positive results are reflected in business confidence, with a net 37% of respondents increasingly optimistic for their consultancy’s prospects. However, optimism for the industry in general is still not nearly as high (net 5% increase).

Significantly, staff levels are set to rise (net 41% increase) with only 1% of respondents expecting to reduce their numbers. Graduate recruitment (net 10% increase) and use of freelancers (net 7% increase) are also set to rise.

Francis Ingham, PRCA Chief Executive, commented: “For the second quarter in a row our Barometer has revealed strong results as PR remains one of the great UK economic success stories of recent years.

“Our client-matching service is extremely busy at the moment and it is ridiculous to suggest, as others have done so, that we should stop pitching during the Olympics. Now is the time to build on our momentum, not to stop and let the recession catch up to us”.

FOR THE PERIOD 1 APRIL TO 30 JUNE WHAT HAVE YOUR CLIENTS DONE WITH THEIR BUDGETS?

Increased significantly 1%
Increased marginally 30%
Stayed the same 54%
Decreased marginally 12%
Decreased significantly 3%

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE LEVEL OF NEW BUSINESS BETWEEN 1 APRIL AND 30 JUNE?

Very busy 14%
Busy 54%
Quiet 29%
Very quiet 3%

DURING THE LAST QUARTER WHAT HAPPENED TO YOUR OVER-SERVICING LEVELS?

Increased significantly 6%
Increased marginally 16%
Stayed the same 68%
Decreased marginally 6%
Decreased significantly 3%
Do not over-service 1%

HAS THE LAST QUARTER MADE YOU FEEL MORE OR LESS OPTIMISTIC FOR YOUR CONSULTANCY?

More optimistic 46%
The same 45%
Less optimistic 9%

HAS THE LAST QUARTER MADE YOU FEEL MORE OR LESS OPTIMISTIC FOR THE INDUSTRY?

More optimistic 19%
The same 67%
Less optimistic 14%


DO YOU THINK THE GENERAL ECONOMIC CONDITION OF THE PR INDUSTRY WILL IMPROVE, STAY THE SAME, OR GET WORSE OVER THE NEXT 12 MONTHS?

Improve 23%
Stay the same 58%
Get worse 19%

WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO STAFF NUMBERS IN THE NEXT QUARTER?

Staff numbers will increase 42%
Staff numbers will stay the same 57%
Staff numbers will decrease 1%

IN THE NEXT QUARTER WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO GRADUATE RECRUITMENT RELATIVE TO THE SAME PERIOD LAST YEAR?

Increase 24%
Decrease 14%
Stay the same 62%

IN THE NEXT QUARTER WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO THE USE OF FREELANCERS RELATIVE TO THE PREVIOUS QUARTER?

Increase 32%
Decrease 25%
Stay the same 43%

WHAT PROPORTION OF YOUR INCOME FOR THE LAST QUARTER WAS DERIVED FROM RETAINED WORK?

0 - 10% 4%
11 - 20% 3%
21 - 30% 0%
31 - 40% 3%
41 - 50% 1%
51 - 60% 9%
61 - 70% 28%
71 - 80% 26%
81 - 90% 14%
91 - 100% 12%

IS YOUR NEW BUSINESS PRIMARILY FROM NEW OR EXISTING CLIENTS?

Existing clients 36%
New clients 64%

Question ---------------------------------------------------Q2 2012

What have your clients done with budgets ------------------------16

How busy would you describe the level of new business ----------- 36

What happened to over-servicing levels -------------------------- 13

Has the last quarter affected optimism for consultancy ---------- 37

Has the last quarter affected optimism for PR industry ---------- 5

What will happen to general economic condition of UK PR industry in 12 months time ------ 4

What will happen to staff numbers in next quarter --------------- 41

What will happen to graduate recruitment in next quarter --------- 10

What will happen to use of freelancers in the next quarter ---------- 7

- ENDS -

Notes to editors

For more information please contact tom.hawkins@prca.org.uk on 020 7233 6026

About the PRCA

Who we are: Founded in 1969, the PRCA is the professional body that represents UK PR consultancies, in-house communications teams, PR freelancers and individuals. The PRCA promotes all aspects of public relations and internal communications work, helping teams and individuals maximise the value they deliver to clients and organisations.

What we do: The Association exists to raise standards in PR and communications, providing members with industry data, facilitating the sharing of communications best practice and creating networking opportunities.

How we do it and make a difference: All PRCA members are bound by a professional charter and codes of conduct, and benefit from exceptional training. The Association also works for the greater benefit of the industry, sharing best practice and lobbying on the industry's behalf e.g. fighting the NLA's digital licence.

Who we represent: The PRCA represents many of the major consultancies in the UK, and currently has more than 250 agency members from around the world, including the majority of the top 100 UK consultancies. We also represent over 70 in-house communications teams from multinationals, UK charities and leading UK public sector organisations.

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