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New research highlights growing importance of corporate communications in Asia

Perhaps influenced by the fact that over half of respondents expect their communications teams to expand over the next two years, it’s not surprising that nearly three-quarters (73%) forecast that their function will increase in influence in the same period. And almost half (44%) expect their total communications budget to grow with two in five (47%) predicting that, at worst, it will remain the same.

As a result of this, communications teams are expanding rapidly. 37% of internal communications functions grew in size over the last 12 months and 28% expect to grow again in the coming year. However the most significant area of expansion was digital. Three quarters of digital teams took on more staff over the past year and over 40% expect to add extra headcount in 2015/2016.

Whilst in previous years communications teams have tended to concentrate in regional hubs, such as Hong Kong and Singapore, VMA’s Pulse found that there was a trend developing  for them to be based & lsquo;on the ground’. As a result, 40% of practitioners in mainland China are forecasting team growth compared to just 25% in Singapore and 31% in Hong Kong.

Reflecting a function yearning for influence, a permanent question mark hangs over the place of corporate communications in a company’s structure and specifically whether it should have a seat at the boardroom table. The Pulse this year suggests a roughly even split in Asia, with 51% of communications functions having a seat on their organisation’s executive team – a slight growth on last year’s results (48%).

In other findings, for the third year running media relations was the resource with the highest level of advocacy from senior leaders, with 95% of respondents reporting that senior leaders are either key advocates or supportive of the function.

31% of those questioned said their favoured method of finding a new job was through recruitment consultancies, while for the second year running only 7% of respondents found their role through internal promotion. On average, 70% of respondents took less than three months to complete their job search.

Attitudes towards remuneration are also improving among communications professionals with an 8% increase across the region in those who felt that they were “adequately paid”.

“The future for Asian business is optimistic, and The Pulse 2015/16 report confirms that the future of Asian communications looks set for corresponding growth” says Katrina Andrews, executive director of VMA Group based in Hong Kong.

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