Stunted Growth of PR firms in Nigeria

Compared to other integrated marketing communication players like advertising that boast of many staffs, most public relations agencies in Nigeria still remain micro enterprises and operate with few staffs akin to  sole proprietorship business. This assertion is contained in the 2016 Nigeria PR report released recently by BHM Research & Intelligence.

According to the report, PR industry sees employees move on to other sectors of the business or outrightly to other industries because of this norm.

“In Nigeria, most agencies remain micro enterprises; a little over a third of respondents (36.92%) claim to have less than 10 staff, while 16.15% have between11 to 20 employees. Just 13.85% have between 31- 40 staff, while about a fifth of agency respondents (22.31%) indicate a workforce of over 40 employees.

“Juxtaposed with results from 2015, where the average Nigerian PR firm had about 30 staff, executives hinge this drastic decline on two main factors: many PR firms are still sole proprietorships run as one man businesses, and where there are dozens of employees, the high turnover rate in the PR industry sees employees move on to other sectors of the business or out rightly to other industries.

“Although micro and small businesses play a salient role in the economic development of Nigeria, the high turnover rate contributes to the towering unemployment rate in the country recorded to have risen from 13.3% in the second quarter of 2016 to 13.9% in the third quarter of the same year.”, the report reads.

This development in the industry has made industry watchers and stakeholders to call for mergers and acquisitions, a situation where smaller and medium agencies join forces to play on a bigger stronger platform.

Bigger PR agencies of world-class stature with best global practices are few and far between in the country. This, it is believed in some quarters, is the reason behind the recent hiring of a foreign PR firm by the Ministry of Finance to manage the reputation of the country, which didn’t go done well with industry watchers and PR practitioners.


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