The 2020-2021 North American Communication Monitor (NACM), organized and conducted by The Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations, disclosed key trends and challenges facing the communication profession.
Some highlights include:
- Seven out of 10 professionals were satisfied with their organization’s communication and management during the COVID-19 pandemic, although the satisfaction level significantlydecreased as the scope of the leadership responsibility
- Professionals in the U.S. were significantly more likely than their Canadian counterparts to report ethical challenges, and most ethical concerns are related to social media
- More than half of professionals confirmed their organization had been a victim of cyberattack or data theft.
- Nearly half (49.5%) of surveyed women acknowledged the impact of the glass ceiling in leadership advancement.
- While building and maintaining trust remains as the top strategic issue for the communication profession, tackling diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) presents a pressing
- Professionals recognize the need to improve competencies, especially in data, technology,and management.
The results are based on responses from 1,046 communication professionals working in different types of organizations (25.6% in Canada and 74.4% in the United States). The sample achieved a fairly balanced gender split (47.7% men and 52.1% women) for accurate comparisons. The average age of participants was 41.2 years.
Bridget Coffing, chair of The Plank Center Board of Advisors, said, “In these unprecedented times and amid a rapidly changing landscape, the global pandemic accelerated trends around ethics, cyber security, and gender and racial inequality. The NACM provides insights into how those trends impacted communication professionals and brought into focus the skill set required to advance authentic, transparent messaging in an age of misinformation.”
This newest edition of NACM, which joins existing Communication Monitors in Europe, Latin America and Asia-Pacific, explored diverse topics, including COVID-19 and communication professionals’ responses, ethical challenges and resources for communication professionals, cybersecurity and communications, gender equality in the profession, strategic issues and communication channels, competency development, salaries, and characteristics of excellent communication departments.
Dr. Juan Meng, associate professor of public relations at The University of Georgia, and lead researcher of the NACM, said: “One of the leading trends revealed by this edition of NACM confirms that change is constant and inevitable. The combined impacts of the pandemic and the digital transformation of communications during times of social and racial unrest call for a strong leadership more than ever to hold your communication accountable while developing new ways of value creation. This edition of NACM offers data-driven insights to explain the difficulties communicators faced, the lessons learned, what core competencies are here to stay, and what new skills need to be acquired and reflected upon.”
Results of the NACM 2020-2021 is published as a PDF report and can be downloaded here: Meng, J. Reber, B. H., Berger, B. K., Gower, K. K., & Zerfass, A. (2021). North American Communication Monitor 2020-2021. The impact of COVID-19 pandemic, ethical challenges, gender issues, cyber security, and competence gaps in strategic communication. Tuscaloosa, AL: The Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations. ISBN (electronic): 978-0-578-90837-3
More about the monitor series
For more information about the Global Communication Monitor series, please visit www.globalcommunicationmonitor.com.