Few internal communications specialists have an HR background or relevant qualifications.
The finding, in a report by Business Intelligence, shows that only 10 per cent have HR experience and only 15 per cent are fully qualified with relevant professional qualifications.
Transforming Internal Communication claims that this compares to 50 per cent of overseas companies.
Most people moving into the sector have joined from other professions, including 26 per cent from marketing and 22 per cent from public relations or journalism. The study claims that internal communications staff need skills in areas other than writing, communication and research.
An understanding of internal communications practice, strategic thinking and change management are also essential skills, claims the study. Internal communications staff must be able to understand business and strategic issues quickly and explain them to a wider audience.
Gavin Green, director of communications for Land Rover, commented on the research, "Internal communications is such an involved area. Traditionally it has been done by HR but if you are dealing with a company newspaper or magazine I would argue that the major skills required are journalism and communication skills.
"You do need more than those skills. You need a strategy to get employees onside. The major factor here is that you need to understand your audience," said Green.
Simon Lancaster, director of publishing at Business Intelligence, commented, "An internal communications strategy, tailor-made to support corporate goals and developed by skilled communication professionals, is critical to business success.
The research surveyed internal communication professionals in over 100 public and private sector organisations.