Measurement a key challenge for communicators

About the author

Ann is a co-founder of PR Academy. Her special areas of interest are internal communication, change management and project communication. MSc, Dip CAM, MCIPR

For the second year running, our annual qualification trend survey highlights measurement as the top skills gap, cited by 53% of respondents. The research also reveals that 35% don’t measure their communication activity.  However, also for the second year running, digital communications is the number one skills gap that respondents would like to address in the next 12 months.

Further skills gaps were reported as budget management (44%), crisis management (37%) and digital communications (35%).

In addition to asking the usual core questions, this year we also asked a new question on whether respondents perceive senior managers as understanding that communication management is more than just a tactic. More than a third of respondents don’t think they do.

We also asked respondents if their senior management team was good at a variety of different communication skills. The survey reveals that senior managers are thought to be better at external than internal communications. More than a third of respondents disagreed or strongly disagreed that the senior management team in their organisation is good at internal communication (37%), listening to employees (37%) and employee engagement (35%).

We think there is a link. Kevin Ruck here at PR Academy suggests that it isn’t a coincidence that measurement is cited as the top skills gap again this year and at the same time there exists a belief that senior managers think of communications as a tactic. If we can improve our skills in measurement we can provide evidence-based advice on where senior managers’ communication skills need improvement to aid business performance.

Other highlights from this year’s survey:

    • Almost 90% of respondents are studying to enhance their skills, while almost 80% are studying to improve career prospects.
    • Three quarters (74%) indicated that holding a professional qualification has led to career progression or that they are confident it will.
    • More than half of respondents (52%) see their careers developing down a specialist path.
    • The number of respondents who indicated that they have funding for qualifications available through their employer has increased this year to a five-year high of 76%.

This is the fifth year that we have run our annual Qualifications for Communicators Trends Survey to find out more about students’ status and views on professional qualifications. The survey was first conducted at the end of 2010 with the results published early in 2011. The fifth and most recent wave of the report was conducted online using Survey Monkey in November and December 2014. The results are based on 123 respondents – all past and present students of PR Academy, who are practising communicators.  For everyone who took part we donated £1 to Crisis at Christmas, then rounded the total donation up to £200.

The full survey can be found in the research section on PR Place.