With one of the highest rates of employee turnover of any industry in the world, public relations is absolutely ripe for disruption. The industry has become overrun by people who are simply looking for the billable hour instead of providing service to clients. Being creative and hip, chatting with clients to learn their quirks and basing success on results rather than revenue is considered old school today.
As people who are in need of public relations find this out, the attrition of the industry is beginning. People are finding ways to create their own PR rather than having to hire an agency that will simply treat them like a number. Because of this lack of loyalty from customers, the public relations industry now has an involuntary turnover percentage of over 50%, and that is just in the past 12 months. Of course this is a downward spiral, because as the turnover rate increases inside of a public relations agency, the client turnover rate increases as well.
The recent economic recession has created even more of a problem for public relations agencies that are not willing to go the extra mile for a client. Large agencies have become bloated and have lost a great deal of clients to more specialized agencies who do not mind giving that personal service. As a matter of fact, independent firms are far outpacing industry giants. They have reported 10.4% increases in revenue when compared to publicly traded public relations firms. Public relations firms that are publicly traded have also reported a gain, but it was only 6%.
Public relations is also one of the last industries to accept the women’s movement for what it is. Although the overwhelming majority of employees in public relations are female, the overwhelming majority of upper management is still male. The problem-solving decisions that are passed down to the chain of command may not be up to speed with the modern world because they are being passed down overwhelmingly by seasoned veterans in the Public Relations industry.