The lobbyists keep a dark and opaque image in society. Citizens perceive them as professionals capable of changing laws at will. And good fault of it is in that its work is not regulated. Yes, there are records (in the National Commission of Markets and Competition and in the European Union) but without the scope that the experts demand. Light and stenographers is what they ask from the sector itself and trust that a regulation, which is already underway, will see the light this year. It will depend on the parliamentary procedure. Until then, bringing this activity to the world will depend on the public affairs organizations themselves. For now, these have already defined a profile of lobbyists in the large Spanish company.
Man and with high salary is the prototype of the lobbyist in Spain, according to a report recently presented by Vinces at the headquarters of the CEOE. 80% of the professionals of public affairs in the large company of our country are men, while the average salary in these positions in the executive scale is of 177,646 euros year. In addition, those responsible at the global level are increased that amount to 187,916 euros on average, while European director lobbyists have a remuneration of 152,999 euros per year. Figures more than ten times higher than the average salary in Spain and that denote the importance of the position.
Despite this, the lobbyists do not usually move in the noble zone of the companies. In a 60% of the companies surveyed, these professionals are not part of the executive committee. No direct deal with the tasks of management, although the entities do have this work in high esteem. It is even perceived as "highly strategic" according to the Vinces study.
Change of vision
During the presentation of the survey also took place the value of the profession … by those involved. Vinces convened a debate table to make visible the problems of the union, extol its virtues and analyze the current situation. An example of the first was the words of Sara Rodríguez, Public Policy manager of Airbnb: "In Spain it costs to have that legitimacy that you see that your North American colleagues have". In other words, the figure of the lobbyist does not yet have the recognition that the sector believes it deserves. At least in the Old Continent because, for example, in the case of Airbnb, the person in charge of public affairs in our country evidences the pitfalls with which they are encountering.
All of this together with the fact that society continues to maintain an erroneous image of what the lobbies. Myth or reality, the sector claims to leave behind certain clichés, although they recognize themselves to have part of the blame in that unique thought of obscurantism around the profession. "We have an active civil society, the parliamentary and regulatory environment has become very complicated and the decision-making processes are no longer in one place," said Jorge Villarino, director of Regulation of Vinces, in reference to that figure of the lobbyist friend of the politician or the businessman has already gone down in history. Now they are aware that citizens demand from them, also, greater transparency. "In Spain it has been said that civil society did not exist, especially by the Anglo-Saxon press, which looks at us over our shoulders. That has changed, "Villarino continued.
In this way, the objective of the sector is to democratize it, provide it with greater transparency and regulation and continue with its professionalization. «There is a growing professionalization. It is common to see it in the charts of listed companies, they are widely available in all Ibex companies and there is a growth of consultants that are dedicated to public affairs. This leads to a more organized, structured and responsible participation of the private sector, which benefits the system, "commented Eva Piera, General Director of External Relations of Mapfre.