One PR for every journalist in the UK?

Posted on 04/05/2011


Was interested to read how there are now three PRs in the US for every one journalist – and the gap is widening in favour of PR’s, contributing to an increase in churnalism.

But, it’s not easy to find the UK equivalent – which given the debate around the decline in numbers of journalists (especially in local media) seems an important question to answer.

Looking at the Labour Force Survey, it appears that in the UK, journalists still have the balance of power with 63,000 journalists across news, magazines and periodicals to just 36,000 public relations officers.

But then there are an additional 49,000 broadcasting associate professionals. So, PR’s are outnumbered 3 to 1 here?

Well not, quite. The LFS then has 55,000 advertising and PR managers, 143,000 marketing associate professionals and half a million marketing and sales managers.

Let’s take the 55,000 figure (the 143 will include so many other online, promotions and other marketing disciplines it will be impossible to split out).

Based on the fact that there are 18,000 employees in UK advertising agencies, compared to 4,500 in PR agencies (PR figures from recent PRCA benchmark study) We can make a educated guess that the proportion of ‘advertising’ vs ‘pr’ people is roughly 4 to 1 – another 13,750. So, around 50,000 PRs.

So even allowing for some other PRs being hidden in other LFS categories, it seems that at the moment there is one PR for every journalist (not including those hidden in the wider broadcast industry).

But, I’m sure most journalists probably don’t feel this is the case?

I think I might try and keep track of this… Does anyone know of any better sources / calculations?