News buchele cc DE
News vom 19.05.2020

Survey: European Communication Monitor 2020

reviewed by Anne-Katrin Ehrt

Survey Review: European Communication Monitor 2020

Research Interest

What ethical challenges have new communication channels brought with them? How often do communicators face ethical questions and what do they rely on to make decisions? Is the ratio of men to women in communications departments also reflected in management positions? What prevents female communicators from advancement? How often do communicators experience cyberattacks in their companies? What role do they play in preventing or coping with them?


Online survey of 2,324 communicators from 44 European countries (in-depth evaluations on 22 European countries). Survey period January-February 2020.


As a long-term study, the European Communication Monitor has been asking agencies and communication departments in business, public authorities and non-profit organisations to weigh up central strategic issues since 2007:

  • For the third year in a row, the respondents see the most important strategic future topic, especially among public authorities and agencies, as being the establishment and maintenance of trust.
  • For companies and non-profit organizations, on the other hand, dealing with sustainability and social responsibility is the top priority.
  • In contrast, coping with the digital evolution and the switch to social media has been steadily decreasing in importance since the first peak in 2011.

The relevance of communication channels is also regularly surveyed: social media, online and face-to-face communication remain important, traditional media are lagging behind. Most respondents assume that communication for mobile devices will become increasingly important in the coming years.

This year, the study again focuses on several current topics:

  • Almost two thirds of the respondents have experienced ethically difficult situations in the last 12 months, with communicators from Croatia, Portugal and Poland reporting most frequently. Above all, communication possibilities in social media (especially social bots, big data analytics, sponsored content and social media influencers) create areas of conflict. The most common way to decide for or against the application is to refer to personal attitudes and values. Professional guidelines are either not known enough or not precise enough to be of help, the authors assume - 40% of the communicators have never taken part in further training on the topic.
  • Cybersecurity is an issue mainly in Northern and Western Europe. Overall, an average of just over half of the respondents have experienced data theft or digital attacks in their organisation, with the most frequent reports coming from public authorities and corporations. The communications department is usually responsible for dealing with problems that have arisen, less often for proactive measures such as knowledge building or the development of guidelines. Communicators are most likely to fear hacks of the website or social media accounts, less frequently attacks on the digital infrastructure, contact data or strategic company data.

In many communications departments in Europe, the proportion of men in management positions is higher than in the staff of the departments. In Germany, Portugal and Greece, over 60% of management positions are held by men. Among the mentioned obstacles to gender equality are:

  • Not enough flexibility to balance work and family life (62%)
  • Lack of transparency of promotion mechanisms (58%)
  • Lack of professional networks for women (39%)
  • Lack of female role models (34%)

Personal characteristics such as lack of ambition or lack of competence of the women employed are rarely mentioned. The task of implementing equal rights is primarily assigned to organisations, rather than to the profession or the individual.

Our Conclusion

The European Communication Monitor is an important indicator of trends and shifts in interest in the industry, thanks to the combination of general basic questions that allow a long-term comparison and current topic highlights.

The focus topics build a bridge between social relevance, current research and the priorities in communication departments. This is necessary because gender issues have been so present in society as a whole in recent years - for communicators, equality in 2020 is the least urgent of the strategic issues surveyed.

The Monitor focuses the topic on the accessibility of leadership positions. It would have been interesting to include data on salaries, bonuses or years of professional experience when the position was reached. The extent to which communicators actively contribute to changing the status quo through gender-sensitive language, promotion of networks or communication via role models would also be revealing.

We cannot describe all of the Monitor's topics in this profile. The survey offers communicators many opportunities for comparison, also on a personal level, for example, on average salary, days invested in further training and important skills.

The authors point out that the study was completed shortly before the outbreak of Covid-19 and the far-reaching shift from analogue to digital collaboration is not reflected in this issue. However, digitisation will certainly be one of the main topics again next year, and it will be interesting to see how the consequences of this year's initial restrictions will be reflected in the surveys throughout Europe.


May 2020: EUPRERA/EACD; A. Zerfass, R. Tench, P. Verhoeven, D. Verčič & A. Moreno

More information on the survey: European Communication Monitor 2020

buchele cc

Feel free to come visit us!

buchele cc GmbH
Peterssteinweg 10
04107 Leipzig 

Phone: +49 (0) 341 24 25 29 40
Fax: +49 (0) 341 24 25 29 49

Directions: Google Maps