The Survey found that:
- Despite sometimes challenging market conditions, the public affairs industry is in good health globally. 75% of respondents say revenue has increased over the last two years and 78% say they will be making new hires over the next 12 months.
- Growing concern about political risk amongst clients is driving growth in the industry. 48% say clients are now ‘very concerned’ about political risk – up from 37% in 2015.
- Many independent public affairs chiefs surveyed say that they deal directly with the CEO, reflecting the importance of a strategic approach to public affairs across the business.
- Building long term relationships with stakeholders and playing an active part in the democratic process is the strategy that delivers the best outcomes, according to our respondents. They spend most time on stakeholder identification and engagement.
- Further evidence of a more long-term, strategic approach to managing political risk is the significant number of public affairs agencies (42%) who always measure the impact of the work they do for clients – using measures such as ROI, significant changes in policy outcomes and perception audits.
- Indicative of the changing landscape that public affairs professionals now have to navigate, is the significance of social media in political debate. 28% say that social media has ‘a lot of influence’ compared with just 4% in 2015.