CASACOM Elevate Study | A First Profile of the Public Relations and Communications Landscape in Ontario and Quebec Designed to Elevate the Profession

To celebrate its 20th anniversary, CASACOM unveiled the first edition of its Elevate Study. Conducted in partnership with Leger, the study took the pulse of 300 PR and  communications leaders in Ontario and Quebec and is a reflection of the firm’s mission to elevate its employees, clients and industry.[1]

“This is the only study of its kind in Canada. We wanted to provide the leaders of our profession with a portrait of the trends and priorities in the industry, so that they can benchmark themselves and, above all, make better decisions and grow within their organizations,” said Marie-Josée Gagnon, President and Founder of CASACOM.

Employer Branding, a Must

As most Canadian organizations face labour shortage issues, attracting, recruiting and retaining talent is more important than ever. Yet, 68% of respondents do not have an in-house employer brand specialist, and 66% have no employee engagement specialist. On the other hand, 64% of organizations surveyed have internal communications staff.

“We’re seeing an urgent need to develop the employer brand,” said Jean-Michel Nahas, CASACOM’s Executive Vice President and Associate. “It’s a key differentiator, especially in the post-pandemic recovery.”

ESG and CSR Still Poorly Understood

Although stakeholders increasingly expect companies to be good corporate citizens, the survey showed that organizations are still in the very early stages of implementing Environmental Social Governance (ESG) and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). In fact, less than half of the organizations surveyed (48%) have implemented a strategy in these areas.

“Surprisingly, of the organizations with an ESG/CSR strategy, half (52%) aren’t publishing reports, suggesting that one of the core concepts behind ESG/CSR—measurement and assessment transparency—is poorly understood,” noted Gagnon.

Organizations who focus on ESG/CSR do so to convey their values (84%), engage with stakeholders (52%) and retain their employees (38%).

A Thriving Profession… Despite Everything

A little over half (58%) of respondents sit on their organization’s board of directors (64% in Quebec, 39% in Ontario). More than 80% said that their PR/Communications team reports to the board on their projects. Confirming the high demand for PR and communications expertise, 54% of Quebec organizations increased staffing over the past two years, compared to 38% in Ontario. Close to 40% expect to hire in the short-term.

Other Key Takeaways

  • Few PR/Comms teams have diversity and inclusion specialists (38% in Ontario, 23% in Quebec).
  • Half of surveyed organizations have a PR/Comms budget of $499,999 or less.
  • One quarter (27%) of those working with a consultant said the need was brought on by the pandemic.
  • External communications (82%), digital communications (75%) and content creation (70%) are the most represented specializations.
  • Social media monitoring is the most used tool, both in Ontario (92%) and Quebec (85%), while only 9% of respondents use a tool to detect fake news.

Read the full report: https://casacom.ca/en/elevate-study

[1]Web survey of 295 PR and communications leaders from the private and public sectors in Quebec and Ontario, conducted by Leger between June 18 and July 12, 2021.

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