Difficult Times are Creating Long-Lasting Opportunities for the APAC Communications Industry

Flexible working may be here to stay
Increased recognition of the value of communications

Hong Kong, 22nd April, 2020 –  The 2020 State of the Industry Report, produced by Prospect and PublicAffairsAsia, was released this week. The report consolidates qualitative research conducted among 100 frontline practitioners and quantitative assessments of salaries among 345 clients and candidates throughout the Communications and Corporate Affairs industry in Asia Pacific. This year the report was supplemented with 30 one-on-one interviews exploring the impact of Covid-19 on the industry.

According to the research the most likely impact of Covid-19 on the industry will be salary freezes (ranked 8.7 out of 10 in terms of likelihood), reduced budgets (8.3 out of 10) and scaling back of agency spend (8.1 out of 10). Consolidation of the industry – a trend that has come through in the report in recent years – will likely continue as boutique agencies are expected to be amongst the hardest hit by budget cuts (7.7 out of 10).

On the flip-side, mandated social distancing has meant that firms have had to allow their staff to work from home. Flexible working is one component of work-life balance which has previously been identified by employees as severely lacking. The effectiveness of working from home during this turbulent period has the potential to shape the industry in years to come.

Additionally, Covid-19 has created an opportunity to demonstrate the value of communications. While in many cases day-to-day company operations have declined, the importance of engaging internal and external stakeholders has increased exponentially. Proactive in-house and agency teams are positioning themselves as strategic partners and meaningfully contributing to business success.

Emma Dale, Founder and Co-Managing Director of Prospect, said, “Covid-19 has meant that employers in Asia Pacific have had to trust their employees to deliver results while working from home. As this situation continues, employees will be evaluated on productivity rather than presenteeism, and we’ll see a happier, more stable and more efficient workforce.”

Retention also seems to have improved in the past year as voluntary movement has reduced. New opportunities for mid-level talent do exist however hiring externally still proves challenging for both in-house and agencies. Language skills, content development, digital expertise and stakeholder management remain highly sought-after by consultancy and in-house employers.

Also in the report, stress levels amongst mid-level staff are lower for in-house employees than those in agencies. But across in-house and agency, the more senior the professional the less work-life balance, with some in-house leaders reporting the least balance.

Elsewhere in the report:
• For junior and mid-level staff, salary bands for communications functions remain higher for in-house positions than agencies, while benefits are generally equivalent.

o Salaries for management-level in-house employees are higher in Hong Kong than in Singapore or China with bands ranging from 25 to 50k HKD in Hong Kong, 19 to 32k HKD in Singapore and 15 to 33k HKD in China.

o Salaries for management-level agency employees are similar between Hong Kong and Singapore, but significantly lower in China with bands ranging from 25 to 35k HKD in Hong Kong, 21 to 30k HKD in Singapore and 13 to 21k HKD in China.

• For senior leadership, salary bands for communications functions are also higher for in-house positions than agencies. Although top earning potential is higher in agencies in Hong Kong, the benefits are generally more generous for in-house positions across the region.

o Salaries for in-house regional directors are higher in China than Hong Kong and Singapore, with bands ranging from 137 to 191k HKD in China, 100 to 170k HKD in Hong Kong and 81 to 162k HKD in Singapore.

o Salaries for agency managing directors are highest in Hong Kong for those with a regional mandate. Bands range from 100 to 265k HKD in Hong Kong, 81 to 163k HKD in Singapore, and 153k HKD and above in China.
The Full State of the Industry Report can be found here:
The 2020 State of the Industry Report

Prospect – Emma Dale: emma@prospectresourcing.com
PublicAffairsAsia – Mark O’Brien: markobrien@publicaffairsasia.com

About PublicAffairsAsia
PublicAffairsAsia is the network for senior government relations, corporate affairs and corporate communications professionals operating across the Asia Pacific region. We offer cutting edge insight through events, intelligence, publications, awards and our professional development programme PublicAffairsAsia Advance.
We also connect corporations to their stakeholders through a series of online briefings and events: convening MNCs, governmental groups and NGOs on neutral platforms to debate emerging policy, regulatory and partnership-based developments.
Visit our website: www.publicaffairsasia.com

About Prospect
Prospect is a global talent resource consultancy within the PR and corporate communications sector with offices in London and Asia. Our long standing dedication
to this field enables us to provide a truly insightful and value-added service to clients. In Asia, Prospect specialises in providing mid to senior level talent to global PR/PA consultancies and major corporates across the Asia Pacific region. With an office in Hong Kong and Singapore and a very strong network across the Asia Pacific region, Prospect is unique in its specialism of the PR and corporate communications industry across all sectors. From internal communications, government relations and media relations through to corporate affairs and CSR, Prospect has the knowledge and capabilities to advise on the trends in the Asia market, offering advice on recruiting and retaining staff and assuring the fit is right.
Visit: www.prospectresourcing.com