Media relations salaries are rising

Despite the downturn, in-house corporate media relations specialists can expect to earn up to £120,000 a year in base salaries, according to new research.

A study carried out by headhunting firm Watson Helsby among 50 FTSE 100 firms showed the base salaries earned by heads of corporate media relations ranged between £45,000 and £120,000.

According to Watson Helby senior consultant Quentin Cowdry, salaries have increased by up to ten per cent in the last year, but he pointed out that this was highly dependent on the sector in question.

The best salaries tended to be in high-profitability sectors such as pharmaceuticals, while the poorest were in sectors such as transport and business support. In some sectors, such as financial services, the overall rewards package is dependent on bonuses, which have been decimated in many cases by crises.

At the same time the research revealed considerable concern among corporate media relations specialists about increased pressure to justify their existence as budgets came under scrutiny.

Cowdry said the feeling was that in times of turmoil pressure grew on corporate media relations specialists to find a way of evaluating performance.

But there was no agreement on the best way of doing this and many felt they were being evaluated unfairly.

All practitioners agreed media evaluation was a poor way of evaluating performance. 'When you're trying to get the message across that corporate communications is a serious business, counting media mentions sends out all the wrong signals,' said one respondent.

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