Asia based survey from VMA Group indicates growth for sector
VMA Group’s annual survey The Pulse has found sustained growth in the importance of corporate communications in the region. The survey takes responses from over 500 corporate communication professionals across Asia and found that nearly three-quarters (73 per cent) forecast that their function will increase in influence over the next two years. Over half of respondents expect their communications teams to expand while a similar number expect their total communications budget to grow. Two in five (47 per cent) predict that, at worst, the budget will remain the same.
As a result of this, communications teams are expanding rapidly. Overall, 37 per cent of internal communications functions grew in size over the last 12 months and 28 per cent expect to grow again in the coming year. However the most significant area of expansion was digital. Three quarters of digital teams took on more staff over the past year and over 40 per cent expect to add extra headcount in 2015/2016.
Whilst in previous years communications teams have tended to concentrate in regional hubs, such as Hong Kong and Singapore, VMA’s Pulse found that there was a trend developing for them to be based ‘on the ground’. As a result, 40 per cent of practitioners in mainland China are forecasting team growth compared to just 25 per cent in Singapore and 31 per cent in Hong Kong.
Reflecting a function yearning for influence, a permanent question mark hangs over the place of corporate communications in a company’s structure and specifically whether it should have a seat at the boardroom table. The Pulse this year suggests a roughly even split in Asia, with 51 per cent of communications functions having a seat on their organisation’s executive team – a slight growth on last year’s results (48 per cent).
In other findings, for the third year running media relations was the resource with the highest level of advocacy from senior leaders, with 95 per cent of respondents reporting that senior leaders are either key advocates or supportive of the function. Furthermore, 31 per cent of those questioned said their favoured method of finding a new job was through recruitment consultancies, while for the second year running only seven per cent of respondents found their role through internal promotion. On average, 70 per cent of respondents took less than three months to complete their job search. Attitudes towards remuneration are also improving among communications professionals with an eight per cent increase across the region in those who felt that they were “adequately paid”.
“The future for Asian business is optimistic, and The Pulse 2015/16 report confirms that the future of Asian communications looks set for corresponding growth” says Katrina Andrews, executive director of VMA Group based in Hong Kong.
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