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South Africa: PR agencies could suffer as companies stop outsourcing comms

The research, carried out by corporate and marketing communications recruitment & training specialists VMA Group Africa, collected data from senior communication practitioners around salary, spend, recruitment patterns, growth plans and skills development.

Other key findings included:

African expansion

Over 40% of respondents said that their companies were looking to expand the communications function into other key African locations including Windhoek, Gaborone, Lagos, Accra and Nairobi. Despite a tough economic climate and low GDP growth, just over 60% of organisations are looking at expanding their comms teams within the next two years.  This is underlined by VMA Group’s European offices’ research where 40% of global organisations said that they already operated in Africa and a further 6% indicating that geographical expansion would be most likely into Africa.

Skill shortages

A quarter of respondents felt that skills shortages were a key concern and almost half (49%) felt that creative and strategic thinking development in order to identify business priorities and build the strategic framework was a key priority.  Other skills development areas included employee engagement, change management, the use of technology and influencing skills.

Recruitment & careers

Interestingly 1 out of 5 respondents (20%) said that their top method for finding a new role remains through the use of recruitment consultancies. Over half (55%) of jobseekers took under three months to complete their job search – a reflection of the local economy where vacancies requiring specific skills are quick to fill.

In terms of motivations to move job, 45% moved due to enhanced career development opportunities – only 14% moved for a higher salary alone. Interestingly, 40% of respondents had become incumbent in their current position through a recruitment consultancy.

The future

Overall, it appears that South African communicators are very positive with almost 60% feeling that the role of communications is likely to increase in their businesses within the next two years.  This supports the premise that communications plays a strategic role across a number of business critical areas such as reputation management, internal communication and leadership training.

You can download a copy of the report here -


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