Digital services lead the way as Australian PR firms invest in growth (REPORT)

 PR in Australia Report

Australia’s public relations consulting industry seems to be in pretty healthy shape if a new survey is any indication. 

The annual Public Relations Institute of Australia’s (PRIA) consulting sector benchmark study was conducted by Galaxy Research and used financial and operations data submitted by consultancy owners and chief executives.

The report, which has run for 14 consecutive years, reveals that most firms predict strong growth in the year ahead; tellingly, PR firms are investing heavily in digital services, providing an indication as to where they think future growth will come from.

Key highlights from the report include:

  • 83 per cent of PR businesses forecast growth in 2015
  • Average monthly client retainers now exceed $12,400
  • 42 per cent of businesses making strategic investments in digital services
  • Hiring intentions on the rise for all consulting roles

According to the survey, which included 48 consultancies nationally, PR consulting activities grew an average of two per cent in 2014, while one third of respondents reported average annual revenue growth of 19 per cent. 

PRIA report

 

Year-on-year results

According to the PRIA, 73 per cent of consultancies submitting data this year also participated last year, thus enabling year-on-year trends to be tracked and tested with a high degree of confidence.

“Public relations consultancies are investing actively in their future,” says Adam Benson, National Chair of the PRIA’s Registered Consultancies Group (RCG).

“More consultancies plan to hire staff this year than last year, with hiring intentions strong at every level.  Investments in digital services are also high on the agenda.  42 per cent are planning a significant expansion of their digital offering, while 40 per cent already have dedicated digital services staff in place.

“Average monthly client retainers rose 15 per cent and are now approaching $12,500. However, the study reports a growing dependency on fewer, larger clients in many consultancies.  This concentration of revenue sources increases long-term structural risk in the industry,” says Adam.

“Most business owners and operators are bullish about 2015. 83 per cent predict revenue growth of 14 per cent, with smaller consultancies targeting growth of 35% or more. We’ve not seen targets this high since the GFC.”

Excellent shape

“This year’s study shows an industry in excellent shape. Bad debt is at a record low. Confidence is high. Business owners and operators are investing proactively in new services for the future. 

“In the year ahead, the greatest challenge will be to manage these investments prudently and, as much as possible, and ensure they reduce dependency on clusters of large clients,” Adam said.

 

SOURCE: Information for this article was sourced from a PRIA media statement 

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