It’s a great time to be working in internal communications (IC). This year’s Inside Insight survey received our largest response yet, with 557 IC professionals taking part, making up what we believe to be a healthy representation of the industry. In the first of a two-part series, we’ll take you through the key take-aways from the first four chapters, with the final five chapters coming next week.
According to Inside Insight 2017, the average profile of an IC professional remains fairly constant, with the majority of people working full time in the office, five days a week. Largely female, highly-educated and based in London or the south east, the industry’s demographic is broadly unchanged. However, it is encouraging to see the sector spread of IC professionals is varied, despite financial and professional services predictably dominating overall.
Another element continuing the theme of previous years is the reported lack of junior talent starting their careers in IC. This does give cause for concern as to where the IC professionals of the future will come from, and begs the question of what we should be doing to attract junior communications talent and school leavers / graduates into the profession.
One of the changes we have been able to track over the last few years is the closer integration of IC and HR, as the number of IC teams sitting in the HR function continues to see steady growth: 13% in 2015, 18% in 2016 and 21% in 2017.
The sector continues to grow and more opportunities are being created. At the same time, the value and importance of IC continues to be recognised by CEOs, with 78% of IC professionals believing that their CEO truly understands the importance of the function. In addition, it’s equally important that the communications director sees the value of IC in their team.
This figure continues to grow, although interestingly, it appears that the increase in CEOs valuing IC is happening at a greater rate than with communications directors. Only 59% of Inside Insight 2017’s respondents feel their communications director values IC as much as other disciplines in the wider comms mix. A shift in valuation will be crucial as the demand for IC within organisations only looks set to grow.
Although the IC sector continues to develop, it’s still disappointing that some of the basics are still not taking place; a significant 30% of IC professionals admitted their teams do not have a formal IC strategy. In addition, where a strategy does exist, only 25% review it on a regular basis.
One new topic recurring throughout this year’s Inside Insight was Brexit. In terms of team size, it seems to have had a rather limited impact on IC professionals and the sector as a whole; 40% of respondents expect Brexit to increase the need for IC in their organisations, and only 25% believe that Brexit will see an increase in the number of interims hired in a team.
Although IC channels continue to develop at pace, often with the launch of new digital and social tools, it’s still disappointing to hear that 70% of IC professionals think that use of digital in their organisation is poor or average. There has been no improvement in the last 12 months, with exactly 70% of respondents saying the same a year ago.
Check back next week, as we’ll be giving you some of the key findings from the second half of the report, with the final five chapters. For more information, or to request the report itself in full, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. See you next week!