PR agencies could suffer in outsourcing change

New research into the communications landscape in South Africa has found that PR & Comms is becoming an increasingly in-sourced function where the skills of the in house communicator are becoming crucial for service delivery. This may not bode well for the PR agency market with over half (52%) of respondents stating that they do not outsource any work to agencies.

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.

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.

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.