Friday, 10 June 2011

Are PR agency salaries the same as 13 years ago?

I joined Scope Communications, now Ketchum, in 1994 and left in 1997/98.  I worked across consumer, corporate and sponsorship and when I left as a senior account manger my salary was £32k per annum.  Tim Court, now a Director at Fabric, left his senior account manager role in corporate PR in 2006 on a salary only slightly higher.

So the question is, have salaries in consultancy PR increased significantly over the years?  In our opinion - no. 

Some salary surveys have suggested that the recession has brought an end to salary inflation seen over the past decade. We have worked with the UK’s leading agencies for that entire period and the salary survey and remuneration levels we discuss with our clients have changed very little through the years.  Healthcare and financial PR salaries have increased but in a comparable way to other industries.  However the core Account Executive to Associate Director salary brackets are broadly the same as they were in 1998.  Where we have seen a real increase, but by no means an eye watering one, is in the salary of directors.  These are now far more commensurate with the role and its degree of responsibility. 

PR undoubtedly remains an attractive and rewarding career for many reasons. However there is no denying that in consultancies in particular the hours can be long, the work can be very full-on, yet the financial rewards for many aren’t compelling.

The cost of living has certainly gone up in the last 13 years so are PR consultancies still able to attract the best talent on these salary levels or are they losing out to the digital and integrated agencies? 

- Justin Kent and Tim Court

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