Optimism and opportunities for tech-savvy communicators

There are opportunities for communications professionals as the industry recovers, but there are serious challenges that still need to be addressed – these are the overriding messages from the International Communications Consultancy Organisation’s (ICCO) 2021-2022 report on the global PR and communications industry.

The good news is that as an industry, we are recovering well, emerging from the difficulties of the past two years. Overall, we have been resilient and adjusted to new ways of doing business. Plenty of temporary changes, such as pivoting to remote and hybrid working, became permanent for many of us. Here at Indaba, we have been working remotely since 2009, so the lockdown was business-as-usual for us – this definitely gave us an advantage when everything was shutting down.

In a period of change that none of us could have predicted at the end of 2019, the one constant has been the sectors that are still growing. Just as the ICCO reported at the end of 2020, the top three growth sectors are:

  • IT and technology (67 per cent of the survey respondents saying it is in their top three growing sectors, up from 52 per cent last year)
  • healthcare (58 per cent, up from 41 per cent)
  • financial and professional services (35 per cent, up from 22 per cent).

It is critical for every professional communicator who is serious about making a positive impact in the technology sector to be informed and inquisitive. It is our job to communicate complex concepts clearly, but the ICCO report urges us all to leverage technology ourselves.

Whether it’s using the latest analytics to measure our effectiveness, helping clients build online communities, boost their social media presence, or host webinars, our work should continue to evolve.

And there are still industry challenges that affect us all to varying degrees. The ICCO report cites recruitment and retaining talent as our top challenge, particularly struggles with finding the elusive “good fit”.

Identifying fake news is another challenge that emerged and it is essential that we are all vigilant here. As well as ensuring we don’t accidentally react to fake news stories, we need to make sure the information we disseminate is accurate as well as newsworthy.

As we look forward to 2022, our industry can be proud of its resilience and its strong across-the-board recovery after two very difficult years. And here’s hoping next year’s ICCO report might have even more good news to share.