What challenges will the communications industry face in 2017?

31 January 2017

Increase in Corporate Reputation and Crisis Roles

Last year saw a number of high-profile corporate crises, and the ability of companies to respond to these in a timely and effective way became vital to maintaining trust. In an age where one wrong Tweet can go viral, companies are assessing their approach to reputation and crisis management, and we expect that a rise in corporate reputation and crisis communications roles will occur throughout the year. Companies will invest more in these teams, as they have bared witness to the damaging effect a poorly handled-response can have on its customers, shareholders and stakeholders. Deloitte’s purchase of crisis and issues specialist Regester Larkin in late 2016 perfectly exemplifies the need to bolster crisis, issue and reputation management offerings.

Emphasized Authenticity

In light of these crises, we predict that global companies will look to encourage authenticity and transparency across their businesses. A rise in internal communications roles may occur, along with an increase in local and regional communications teams, in order to ensure authentic local connections are formed and brand identity is upheld across all audiences.

Political Domination

On a UK-specific note, the continued impact of the Brexit vote will spur growth in public affairs and government relations roles. Companies are eager to understand the changing political landscape that has arisen as a result of the UK’s separation from the EU, Donald Trump’s election and increasingly unpredictable environments across the world, and it will be in the hands of trusted political and communications professionals to make sense of this.

Digital Specialists

The call for specialists will not, however, be exclusive to the public affairs and political sector. As the communications industry becomes increasingly integrated, we have noticed a surge in the number of digital-specific roles. Companies are looking for people with particular skill-sets, such as SEO and PPC experts, and the constantly evolving nature of social media platforms such as Snapchat and Instagram means that companies need to rapidly respond to digital updates in order to keep a competitive edge. Accenture’s purchase of indie marketing group Karmarama, including PR agency Kaper, demonstrates that large-scale businesses are widening their digital services.

Data Driven

The unpredictability of 2016 will manifest in the call for data driven, highly strategic communications. As the content marketing and social media markets become saturated, data will provide companies with a competitive edge. It will allow them to understand consumer behaviour more accurately, and quickly understanding and adapting to trends will create more targeted campaigns.  

Rise in Juniors

We also expect that junior and mid-level roles will continue to dominate hiring, though senior roles will start to pick up over the course of 2017. In the previous year, we saw a major boost in the level of entry-level and mid-level communications roles available, which we believe to be a reflection of the positive post-recession market.

If you would like to discuss any of the above, or the communications market in general, give us a call on 020 7009 3500 or drop an email to info@jflrecruit.com