After such a jaw-dropping 2016, it’s easy to get hung up and worry about the next 12 months. There’s the ongoing fall-out from the UK’s Brexit referendum, the changing value of the pound, and Donald Trump’s presidency just to name a few issues that we face in 2017.
However, despite that I believe the PR industry will continue to grow and thrive in 2017. Although the process of leaving the EU may have some negative consequences, I do see a number of short terms opportunities as international businesses scramble for a place in pre-Brexit Britain.
Age old issues such as training, diversity and digital will continue to play out and set the agenda of boardroom discussions.
I see the key trends for 2017 being:
Overseas budgets will go further
When Article 50 is triggered, the pound will inevitably take even more of a hit. A weaker pound means that budgets from overseas companies will go further than before, so we may see greater investment from international businesses hoping to take advantage of cheaper exchange rates.
Filling the skills gap
Recruitment will be a key issue again in 2017 as the industry maintains its growth. The need to constantly train and develop our skills base will be a key focus, and will help to set consultancies apart from each other.
A greater focus on diversity
The PR industry has taken positive strides towards improving diversity and equality in the workplace. This trend should continue in 2017, with a greater focus on school leaver and internship schemes, targeting a wide range of ethnic and socio-economic groups.
More project opportunities
Consultancies will see a good mix of retainers and project opportunities, with the latter growing as businesses decide not to commit to a 12 month spend just yet. I see this being especially true in London and the south-east of England, where the mood is lower after the Brexit result. We might find with more confidence outside London that the focus there is on retainer.
Over the next five years, PR will increasingly own the digital space. We will need to focus more of our resources on digital content, as businesses continue to pump more budget into this area. I can see more acquisitions taking place as PR companies continue to embrace the opportunities here.
Wellness in the workplace
Public Health England and NHS England are working together to implement widespread changes to the way we tackle mental health problems. As a result, wellness in the workplace will become more of a concern next year. We all come under pressure in our jobs and it’s important to make sure staff are well looked after.