Communications in the financial services industry

January 2012

Although every industry faces its own set of communication challenges, it can be useful to draw parallels between the communications function in one field with those in another. That’s why we’ve decided to focus on a recent survey by the VMA Group (“Specialists in PR recruitment, HR recruitment and Communications jobs”) on the role of communicators in the financial services industry: the intense scrutiny undergone by the industry in recent years underlines the need for increased professionalisation, and the sector’s communication function could serve as a litmus test for communicators in other sectors. VMA’s surveys are consistently incisive and clearly presented, and this one is no exception. Focussing on the global centre of the financial services industry – the UK – the survey touches on issues such as reporting (it finds that “job titles often fail to reflect the full range of work being undertaken”), the relationship between communications and marketing (there is a “surprising degree of neutrality” on the issue of the convergence between communications and marketing teams), remunerations and career development. Perhaps most interesting are the survey’s findings on skills and training: just a minority of respondents (five per cent) felt no need for any training or development; pursuing relationships outside of the business was of most concern for respondent’s own development (23 per cent), closely followed by presentation skills (22 per cent). The survey also asked respondents to rate their colleagues’ development: the skill that colleagues should develop the most was business acumen (21 per cent), closely followed by creative/engaging writing (18 per cent). The survey is worth reading in full, not least because it is a chance to reflect on how you would answer the questions it poses. Regardless of the industry you work in, your answers could be a starting point for a wider conversation on the state and development of your communications. Taken from VMA Financial Services Survey 2011

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