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B.C. PR companies grow, digital agencies contract

Average employment at top public relations firms grew seven per cent over past two years
Photo: Nitat Termmee / Momement / Getty Images

B.C.’s biggest public relations companies have rebounded after shrinking for two consecutive years during the pandemic, according to data on Business in Vancouver’s list of the biggest public relations companies in B.C.

Their average number of B.C. employees fell seven per cent over that two-year period to 16.2 in 2021 from 17.4 in 2019. Since then, average local employment grew 13 per cent to 18.3 in 2023.

The growth in average employment was largely fuelled by the 84-per-cent growth in the B.C. employment of Argyle, a Believeco: Partners Co. The firm grew to 46 employees in 2023 from 25 in 2022. Over the past year, employment at B.C.’s top public relations firms grew 12.9 per cent on average.

manufacturing chart 2023-part 2

The ranks of B.C.’s largest digital media companies, by comparison, have not expanded as quickly. Average 2023 employment at B.C.’s top digital media agen- cies fell below 2018 levels, according to data collected on BIV’s list of biggest digital and media agencies in B.C.

Average B.C. employment peaked in 2020 at 78.7. Since, it has fallen for two consecutive years. Most of that decline happened over the past year, when average local employ- ment fell 36 per cent, to 47.9 in 2023 from 74.9 in 2022. This decline was largely the result of staff cuts at BBTV Holding Inc. The company cut local employment by more than half, shrinking its staff 64.5 per cent to 142 in 2023 from 400 in 2021.