10 Communication Statistics from the North American Communication Monitor

This week, AMD Creative is stoked to break down some communication industry trends and statistics. We know many of our followers work in communication and marketing. From agencies to nonprofits to corporate communications, the Plank Center recently completed their North American Communications Monitor that break down EVERYTHING.

We wanted to share a few highlights from the Plank Center’s extensive research study based on a survey that 1,020 professionals completed. 50% of respondents were male and 50% of respondents were female. To see the full demographic breakdown, check out this quick summary infographic of their study. You can download the entire North American Communication Monitor (NACM) study and view all supporting information via this page on their website.

  1. Women reported a much lower level of satisfaction with their job.

Photo by  Tim Mossholder  on  Unsplash

According to the NACM, this was for four reasons:

  1. “My tasks are less interesting and challenging.”

  2. “The job does not have a high status.”

  3. “The salary is inadequate.”

  4. “The career opportunities are less promising.”

Additionally, the NACM reports that “female practitioners in this year’s survey were most concerned with the challenge of addressing more audiences and channels with only limited resources. Male practitioners’ concerns focused on dealing with false information, reinforcing the impact of fake news. “

The question becomes, how can we empower women in communication with more resources to reach more channels and audiences? How can we be more inclusive of females by addressing concerns of the lack of challenge in a job and feeling important? How can we create more promising career opportunities for female professionals?


2. 71.9% of surveyed communications professionals agree that their leader is an excellent leader.

On this question, there was little discrepancy between the way men and women responded. It seems like there are some strong leaders in the communications field, which gives professionals who are young in their career the opportunity to find a mentor and someone to look up to for guidance.

Although the NACM survey showed that leaders typically rated themselves much higher than their subordinates, the satisfaction levels with leaders in the communication field is still relatively high.

A boss can make or break a working experience in any industry, so it is a huge positive note for the communications to 71.9% of leaders qualify as excellent.


3. 81.3% of respondents felt that their associates or fellow employees are committed to doing quality work.

Photo by  Austin Distel  on  Unsplash

Communications professionals seem to view their coworkers and peers in a positive light. Working in communications has a notorious reputation for being competitive, but it’s extremely telling to see that professionals rate each others’ commitment to quality work so high.

What may be at the heart of this statistic is mutual respect for one another. Seeing quality work in another person requires recognition and a positive culture. This statistic was particularly hopeful and a potential sign of our industry transitioning into a more collaborative field.


4. Communication professionals in private companies reported the highest job engagement, while governmental communication professionals reported the lowest job engagement.

Job engagement index:

Public 60.9%

Private 65.3%

Governmental 58.1%

Nonprofit 60.7%

In government work in general, the burnout rate seems to be relatively high, so it is not surprising that the governmental communications professionals felt the least engagement compared to the other categories. What was interesting was the highest engagement reports coming from private companies. This could potentially come from a stronger overall sense of purpose and connection to the private company and mission that the communications professional experiences.

There are less reporting agencies and regulations to be accountable for in private companies as compared to governmental or nonprofit work. Additionally, communication budgets tend to be higher for private companies while most nonprofits have a very small budget if they have a budget at all for communications/public relations work.


5. “Female professionals are more stressed than their male counterparts and receive less resources to manage the stress.”- NACM

Photo by  CoWomen  on  Unsplash

Photo by CoWomen on Unsplash

On a 5-point Likert-typle scale, women’s workday stress rang in around 2.95, and men’s workday stress sat around 2.91. Using the same scale, women’s average was 3.54 and men’s 3.59 for feeling like they have resources available to them to manage their stress that they encounter during their workday.

The takeaway from this particular set of statistics seems to be that while the gap between stress and available resources is larger for women, both women and men need more resources to cope with their workday stress. These employee programs could range from something as small as a 10-15 minute afternoon coffee and walk break to offering sessions of counseling for stress management.


6. “Women said they are most stressed by lack of opportunity and too much work.”- NACM

This is an interesting breakdown from the NACM on the differences of stress factors for men and women. Women tend to want to take on the world, and it can be easy to overpromise and overwhelm ourselves with the number of projects we either volunteer for or are assigned to. A couple of ways to manage this stress might be to a) eradicate the need to say yes to every project and b) to be honest with supervisors about the assigned workload and when max capacity is approaching.


7. “Men are most stressed by information overload and being constantly available via email, text and phone.”- NACM

Men are most stressed by information overload and juggling multiple forms of communication throughout the day. It can be trying during the work day to look at an extensive to-do list and have to continue to manage incoming calls, texts, and emails. A couple of ways to manage this stress might be to a) set a grace period of 24 hours for answering emails b) know that it is okay to return calls later when a deadline is approaching.


8. Women have more confidence in social media skills compared to men.

In fact, women are more confident in knowing about social media trends, delivering messages via social media, and evaluating social media activities. Review the graph above to see the full comparison of self-ratings in relation to social media skills and knowledge.


9. Almost 4 out of 10 communication leaders are not a member of the organization’s executive board.

This statistic has remained pretty consistent throughout the last five years. In 2014, USC’s Strategic Communication and Public Relations Center did a research study that found 60% of senior corporate communications professionals are invited to executive board planning sessions.

How seriously do executives take the contribution that communications professionals have to offer? Including CCO’s and other communications professionals in executive meetings seems like it would only improve lines of communication and add additional perspectives, backgrounds, and ideas. Hopefully, the trend will continue upward in the next five years and demonstrate the growing value of communications professionals at executive levels.


10. 70.4% of excellent communication departments have open flows of information.

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The more information, the more informed decisions will be. In this case, information referred to “news briefings, media monitoring, survey results, brand/reputation reports, benchmarking or background reports.” The differentiator for excellent communication departments seems to be the delivery of information to management and stakeholders.

Transparency is key in the field of communications. For public relations in particular, the public leans toward feeling distrust. Internally, it is important to continue to maintain open lines of communication, sharing all reports and data that are recorded with leadership as well as any stakeholders.