A few months ago I participated in the largest transnational survey on strategic communication worldwide - the European Communication Monitor (ECM). The results were published a few days ago and, as always, I was eager to find out to what extent my input corresponded to the answers given by the other participants and if I had correctly identified the same emerging trends in the field as they have. As it turns out, I seem to be on the same page as most other practitioners.
Here's some research background first:
The ECM 2014 surveyed 2,777 communications professionals from 42 countries to study key issues of communication management and public relations, the digital age, networking, leadership, gender and mobile media.
The research findings confirm that without any doubt the digital age has transformed how communicators work, interact and share experiences. However, the rise of online channels and social media not only have major strategic implications, but also bring about considerable challenges for professionals:
- 86% state that online channels are the most important communications tool for organisations today, which is a strong rise from 58% in 2009.
- 90% are expecting a significant growth of the importance of social media and mobile over the next three years.
- 88% of all communication professionals rate effective communication as very important for great leadership.
- While 84% state that new ways of communication are enriching their jobs, younger communication practitioners even feel obliged to be “always online”.
- 45% of the respondents believe that the most important challenge for the profession today and during the next three years is linking communication and business strategies in a proper way.
"The future is mobile" is another major research finding:
- Communicating with stakeholders at any time is the most important aspect of mobile communication for six out of ten communicators in Europe.
- 61% of organisations have already employ mobile corporate or organisational websites, but only 37% have implemented apps for smartphones.
The part I found most interesting was career progression and personal development. Funnily enough, one of the top three factors for obtaining a good position in strategic communications is moving to a new employer as stated by 71% of the respondents (the other two factors are networking among peers and colleagues (78%) and further education on or off the job (71%). That's quite the number, if you ask me, and I wonder what the reasons behind it are. Perhaps it is related to some other research findings:
- 73% of communicators say that their daily work pressure is steadily increasing.
- Only 57% know how to handle the constant information flow with many still struggling to find new routines.
- 81% work beyond their contracted hours, especially those in agencies with most extra work being done by the youngest and the most senior practitioners.
- Only 36% state that their work-life balance is alright.
There are many more interesting findings and learnings in the report. You can have a detailed look at the rest of the results here:
What is it that strike you the most?