Word-Of-Mouth, Referral Primary Source Of Recruitment In Public Affairs: Study

Retention and absence of relevant metrics to demonstrate business value biggest challenges facing the PA industry, the study reveals


At least 6 in 10 experts (63 per cent) believed that word of mouth, or referral is the primary channel of recruitment in Public Affairs, followed by LinkedIn (55 per cent) and Recruitment Agencies (51 per cent), according to a study conducted by PAFI-Ipsos Public Affairs Career in India.

Though retention was seen as a major challenge by at least 2 in 3 of the experts polled. For high levels of churn, the experts believed that better job opportunities in the market (47 per cent), unrealistic expectations from employers (34 per cent), and salary discontent (30 per cent) could be some of the reasons, the report read.

It further stated that almost 6 in 10 professionals interviewed (59 per cent) felt the biggest challenge for the industry per se was the lack of relevant metrics to demonstrate business value (59 per cent) and vague career progression path (47 per cent).   

These are some of the key findings of the Public Affairs Forum of India (PAFI)-Ipsos joint study titled Public Affairs Career in India – a turning point.

PAFI is a global market research company that undertook a survey to identify career and compensation trends for Public Affairs professionals in India.

"We’ve explored, identified, and documented the career progression path, remuneration trends, occupational advancement, and challenges faced by PA professionals in the comprehensive study. The findings provide interesting insights into the expectations of industry professionals. The PA industry is grappling with credibility in demonstrating to organisations what it brings to the table and while its contribution is immense, the recognition is not enough," said Parijat Chakraborty, Group Country Service Line Leader Public Affairs & Corporate Reputation, Ipsos India.

TS Vishwanath, Director General, PAFI said that the Public Affairs profession in India is about 15 years old which is quite nascent. This was a maiden study undertaken by PAFI in partnership with Ipsos, to understand from the PA professionals their perception on the various aspects of PA and the report is highly insightful in guiding us to address expectations and challenges of the PA professionals.

Expressing his thoughts, Amit Adarkar, CEO, Ipsos India stated that Ipsos has been working with clients for over  40 years to monitor and manage their most important intangible asset - their reputation. The joint study with PAFI highlights key trends in the domain and the way forward. We see a lot of synergy between Ipsos and PAFI and together we can do a lot of work on various aspects of PA in leveraging its potential.

The study also captured the desired professional traits for hiring in PA and domain expertise was the most desired lever highlighted by at least 64 per cent of professionals. Communication skills (57 per cent) and training (55 per cent) were the other attributes preferred for hire.  

The impact of the pandemic was moderate on the sector, said 45 per cent of the professionals polled. Though one in 6 felt a major impact on employee functional engagement. 

Remuneration in PA

Broadly, remuneration in Public Affairs hovered between 25 lacs to 5 crores and depended on the organisation turnover (revenue) and employee strength.  

For instance, 27 per cent had annual gross revenue of Rs 10,000 crore and 1/3rd turnover between 2,000-10,000 crores. 

The organisations largely belonged to diversified sectors, digital sectors (IT, telecom, media), MNCs, among others. 

How we did it

Ipsos interviewed PAFI members and non-member organisations using a structured questionnaire, largely senior to mid-level PA professionals. Data collection was done both online and offline (face-to-face). Interviews were conducted at PAFI events and mailed to members with the online survey link. About 83 professionals participated in the study.  

Tags assigned to this article:


Around The World