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PR Faced With Volatile Staff Turnover Rates While Demand Rises For Multi-Skilled Staff

PR Faced With Volatile Staff Turnover Rates While Demand Rises For Multi-Skilled Staff

Australia (November 3, 2006) –The PR industry is facing two significant challenges – a high level of staff turnover and a strong demand for multi skilled staff, according to the latest annual Aquent Asia Pacific salary survey, The Aquent Orange Book.

Public relations, compared to advertising, media and marketing industries, is the most volatile area when it comes to staff turnover.

Well over half the companies surveyed had staff turnover of more than 20%. Adelaide was the highest, with 62%. Even in Perth, the city with relatively low turnover rates, PR/communications turnover was 30%.

“It is all about retention. The so-called war for talent no longer goes far enough. The real battle is internal – keeping good people and growing key staff for the future,” says Aquent CEO Greg Savage.

Not surprisingly, salaries are increasing in an effort to retain high-calibre staff. Across all states, the majority of public relations and communications businesses predicated salary increase in the next year from 5% to 7%. The greatest prediction of salary increase was in Adelaide, where 100% of Public Relations agencies in Adelaide predicted salary increases; 52% of Melbourne PR agencies expect an increase in salaries.

“We found that Sydney Corporate Communication Directors receive an average base salary of $200,000”, says Savage.

Given the acute talent shortage, the Aquent survey found that more than 50% of all marketing companies are willing to offer a relocation package in an effort to gain employees. In Sydney, 61% of PR agencies are open to the idea of a relocation package for an ideal foreign candidate, with 67% in Adelaide willing to offer a relocation package to Australian professionals.

The survey also found that while communication employers are scrambling to find quality skilled staff, the use of freelance, temporary and contract staff as a fast cost-effective solution remains steady. Public Relations and Corporate Communications are using fewer contractors, freelance and temporary workers. 43 per cent is the greatest usage by PR firms in Brisbane, followed by 25 per cent in Melbourne, and a mere 10 per cent in PR departments in Adelaide.

The other issue is the talent shortage of multi-skilled PR consultants.

It’s a new and accelerating trend in Australia’s ongoing talent shortage, as the shift in communications spend from traditional advertising to a range of below-the-line approaches.

“Companies are on the lookout for people with experience that ranges from traditional to digital to experiential marketing – these are the most sought after staff and the most scarce,” says Savage.

The good news is that the Australian market is thriving and companies are expecting a prosperous year ahead, with more than 86% of Australian companies surveyed expecting revenue growth at an average of 20%.

Despite the challenges, Savage also sounded a cautionary note about the current talent shortage. “It will change and the landscape will be different in a few years time. These trends are cyclical and in the not-too-distant future, there will be surplus of talent available.”

Attention PRIA Members:
All members of PRIA are entitled to a free copy of the Aquent Orange Book as a result of the partnership between Aquent and PRIA. Simply call Aquent in their Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth or Sydney office on 1800 672 625, ask to speak to one of their PR recruiters and quote your PRIA membership number.

For further information contact:
Carolyn Hyams, Asia Pacific Marketing Manager, Aquent
02 8288 8288/0403 573 355

About the Aquent Orange Book

The Aquent Orange Book (previously called The Asia Pacific Salary Monitor), provides accurate salary information for hundreds of staff categories, detailed statistics on revenue growth, staff retention strategies, anticipated salary increases, and identifies employment and growth trends.

Aquent commissioned independent, Hong Kong-based research company WebDNA to conduct the research across 15 countries – seven in Asia Pacific. Overall, more than 5,000 valid responses were collected from marketing, advertising and creative industries in the region.

About Aquent

Aquent is a global firm specialising in staffing solutions for the Marketing, Communications and Creative industries. Through a network of nearly 70 offices in 17 countries, Aquent services in the areas of print and Web design and Production; Advertising and Media, Marketing, Public Relations and Business Support. In its twenty-year history, Aquent has made nearly 400,000 matches of independent professionals with client companies worldwide. The company’s Asia-Pacific headquarters are in Sydney. In Australia, the company has offices in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth.


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