Salary survey: Know Your Value

Ever wondered how much you are really worth? Rob Gray reports on this year's definitive guide to PR salaries and benefits

Do your salary and the benefits you receive stack up against the rewards of those in comparable job positions? Read on for the nearest thing to a definitive answer.

PRWeek received more than 500 responses to our 2004 Salary Survey, providing a comprehensive insight into remuneration across the industry.

So much detailed information was received, on salaries determined by team sizes, salaries determined by regions, redundancies, working practices and training that additional data is available on our website www. prweek.com.

Regular readers will immediately notice a change of methodology over previous years. In the past, we have used the raw data supplied by our respondents to calculate average salaries for the most common PR job titles.

This time around we have opted, instead, to produce salary brackets, in the belief these will present a more accurate guide to where pay levels really lie.

Averages, as we all know, can often be distorted by a handful of figures that are significantly higher or lower than the norm. This means we cannot draw clear comparisons with the last salary survey, of March 2002.

'Employers recruit on salary bracket, so this type of information is going to be a lot more relevant for readers,' says PRJS Select managing director Justin Kent.

A good balance of responses also ensures there will be robust information for readers, regardless of the nature of their employer. In-house public sector employees, at 37 per cent, made up the largest category of survey participants, followed by those in-house in the private sector at 34 per cent and consultancy staff at 29 per cent. Broadly speaking, each of the three categories amounts to close to a third of respondents: a pleasing parity.

Despite the tough time faced by the industry, salary increases remain stable. Rises are far from dramatic - the boom times of three or four years ago seem almost to belong to another era - but there do seem to be more green shoots of confidence around this year than last, which are reflected in fairly modest salary increases.

'Salaries have not risen drastically over the last year although they have started to creep upwards again after a fairly stagnant year in 2001/2002,' says Prospect director Emma Dale. 'Lower level salaries seem to have risen more than the more senior levels. In fact, there has even been evidence of enforced salary cuts for senior people.

'In-house still tends to pay a bit more than agency, and offers better benefits, however there are certainly some in-house roles that we have worked on where the salary has been lower than you would get in an agency,' she adds.

As the tables show, when you're at the top level at an agency, pre-tax incomes for the majority sit at £60,000 plus, although in the in-house public sector, the majority (46 per cent) do not earn the top level of pay but fall into the bracket of £46,000-£60,999. However, in the in-house private sector, 32 per cent of respondents earn more than £100,000.

External hires take a back seat

At the other end of the scale, 31 per cent of agency account executives earn under £16,000 while an in-house press officer is more likely to earn under £23,000. Dale adds that with budgets still tight across agencies, there has been a preference towards not hiring externally if they feel forced into paying too much money, so an internal re-organisation tends to take place instead. It also appears more common to promote people internally, and then recruit at a more junior level.

Average salary increases tend to differ across sectors; for an agency chairman or MD it heads towards the £3,000 mark but an in-house public sector equivalent will have received almost £1,000 less. In-house private sector directors of comms receive the most, with £3,981.

At the junior end of the scale, agency account executives gain the most with an average salary increase of £2,104. Next is an in-house private sector press officer at £916 while an in-house public sector press officer would receive an average of £878.

An unfortunate five per cent of respondents have suffered salary cuts in the last six months, while 13 per cent say their company has currently frozen salary reviews. Almost double that amount say that their company has put a freeze on recruitment.

Unquestionably, many employers have had to look hard at their cost base during the downturn and, in a service business like PR, the main cost is staff. Four out of ten survey respondents revealed that their company had made redundancies in the last 12 months. It is chastening to note that nearly half of those (46 per cent) who worked where there had been redundancies revealed the number of people to be axed exceeded 20.

'There is a degree of nervousness among job seekers, as many have had their fingers burnt over the last few years, and are wary of start-ups, new divisions or new business roles where they feel they could be vulnerable,' says VMA managing director Vicky Mann. 'The memory of redundancy still lingers, so both employers and employees are acting more cautiously.'

Good Relations corporate team director Will Sanderson agrees. He has recently recruited staff and says: 'People are looking for a company where they see a long-term future. 'In the heady days of three or four years ago, people were much more focused on salary and all the perks and benefits.

Now there is more attention on what the employer is like - "will I be stretched and developed?" - people want certainty and security.'

Fortunately, the great wave of redundancies appears now to be behind us.

A gradual growth in confidence is discernible. Only six per cent of respondents think it in any way likely they will be made redundant in the next 12 months.

Nevertheless, the ramifications of the widespread job losses can still be felt. Not only in the psyches of those who have seen close colleagues depart but also in the composition of the PR labour market.

The spate of redundancies has meant that there are far more freelances around than was the case at the turn of the Millennium. Once people have been made redundant they often prefer to freelance so that they can experience different environments.

In this way they can put off joining another company until the market is more secure, and not have to grab the first role on offer.

Freelance salaries vary greatly, although respondents did not specify how many days a week they worked. But while 22 per cent may well earn more than £60,000, a third (33 per cent) reported earning under £16,000.

In an environment where headcount has fallen, inevitably those that are left behind have to work that much harder. It is illuminating that 38 per cent of our sample believe the number of hours they work each week has risen compared to 12 months ago. Conversely, a mere eight per cent think their hours have fallen, with the rest believing they have stayed the same.

According to several recruitment consultants this has led to a degree of frustration among certain PR staff who feel their remuneration has not kept pace with a burgeoning workload. Consequently, stress levels continue to remain a cause of concern for employers.

More than one in five - 22 per cent - of our survey said their job was 'very stressful'. Moreover, 62 per cent typified their work as 'fairly stressful.' Almost three quarters of our sample spend one evening a week out on business, with 22 per cent out twice a week, and six per cent out three times. Encouragingly, only seven per cent work every weekend, but 12 per cent work at weekends once a month, with a further 63 per cent having to work weekends occasionally.

Questioned as to how well rewarded they felt, taking into account their whole package, only five per cent thought themselves very well rewarded, 28 per cent well rewarded and 43 per cent fairly rewarded. But 24 per cent deemed themselves under rewarded.

Benefits get a revamp

In a climate of modest salary rises, greater attention is being paid to benefits by both employers and employees. There has been a slight shift towards more creativity and variety in the benefits on offer, particularly in the area of 'lifestyle' benefits.

'The most noticeable change in trends this year has been with benefits, especially at the senior level where salary packages are expected to include excellent benefits such as holiday increase, flexi-hours, sabbatical options,' says Median Recruitment manager Christopher Lee-Roberts. 'The balance between the home/ family life and the career has become very significant with financial packages being less of a priority. Rather than being eroded, benefits such as pensions and health insurance are becoming standard, and benefits packages in general are becoming an important factor in securing new staff.'

Several agencies have become increasingly creative with their benefits package, focusing more on lifestyle benefits, with things like sabbaticals having gone from a rarity to greater prevalence as a means of combating high staff turnover, particularly among senior people.

There has also been a greater introduction of flexible benefits schemes through which employers can pick the perks that best suit them up to a pre-defined value ceiling. Recruitment consultants report that rather than having set benefits, employees can buy and sell benefits through an option package. They might receive the basics such as healthcare, pension and life insurance as standard, and then have four per cent of their basic salary to have additional benefits, picking them a la carte.

Lewis Communications HR director Toni Castle says Lewis operates a system of this kind, known as the Lewis Lunchbox: 'People like having benefits tailored to their individual needs.'

Indeed, it seems people are after quality of life, with hours that aren't ridiculous to enable them to have a life outside of work.

The less favourable taxation situation, with regard to company cars, has seen their decline, often to be replaced with a car allowance. It is interesting to note a major disparity here between senior in-house and agency jobs.

While only 27 per cent of agency board directors, falling to 15 per cent of chairmen/managing directors/chief executives, have a company car, 61 per cent of those in a private sector head/director of communications role have a vehicle provided for them at their employer's expense.

Among those at the top of the in-house PR tree in the public sector, in jobs such as communications director, only one out of ten enjoys this benefit. However, 16 per cent of those holding down head of PR jobs in the public sector are given a car.

As one might expect, in-house jobs, whether public or private sector, score far better than agencies on providing contributory pensions. An almost universal 96 per cent of private sector comms directors have a contributory pension as part of their package.

More than four out of five senior public sector PR practitioners are happily in the same boat.

'We have no problem attracting people,' claims Birmingham City Council head of communications Myra Benson. 'At senior level the packages are good. We get 200-plus applications when we advertise jobs. When people are looking at new posts, pensions are such an important topic.'

On the agency side, only 41 per cent of those in the top management jobs, and 46 per cent of board directors receive contributory pensions. Clearly, this is an area where the consultancies lag some distance behind in-house.

There are indications, however, that driven by demand from employees, more agencies are beginning to look at offering more than basic stakeholder pensions to staff.

'Benefits are important, more as a way of motivating your current employees,' says Geronimo PR managing director Karen Harris. 'They want to be properly rewarded. It's not just about money anymore. Pensions have become more of an issue than ever before.

'People want a good scheme and matched contributions. We're offering a good pension scheme where we are starting to match contributions this year for the first time.'

Nevertheless, in the highly competitive agency world it is clear to many that staff retention can be heightened, and vital targets met for the benefit of all, if some performance-related pay is incorporated into the package.

At account director level, 36 per cent receive a performance related bonus, with the same proportion entitled to a bonus for bringing in new business. A Christmas bonus is given to 12 per cent.

'All our staff have performance targets to work to,' says Communique managing director Nathalie Bagnall. 'The lump sum in February every year does everyone the world of good.

Ten per cent of our net profit goes into the bonus scheme, which usually equates to about ten per cent of salary.'

Consolidated Communications managing director Sarah Robinson agrees.

'Salary is not the be-all and end-all,' she says, 'especially at senior levels - account director upwards - candidates are most interested in shareholding. They want a piece of the action; to know they are working in part to directly benefit themselves.'

This year's figures show a that options of share ownership are extended to 19 per cent of consultancy board directors, and 12 per cent of both account directors and account managers. These levels are still a long way short of those for the senior in-house private sector jobs, where half of our respondents have the option of share ownership.

However, some of the in-house jobs will be at large stock-market listed corporations, which have intricately structured and refined share ownership schemes in place for staff.

These types of schemes, says Alliance & Leicester head of corporate communications Ginny Broad, can be very hard to explain to prospective staff at interview, but tend to be greatly appreciated by longstanding employees who have come to see the value of amassing some equity in their employer.

Privately owned small or medium-sized consultancies cannot hope to deliver the same sort of incentive schemes as client companies employing thousands and turning over billions of pounds. On the other hand, they are freer to be inventive and flexible.

Octopus Communications, a 12-strong agency in Windsor, carried out a consultation on benefits with its staff. Rather than opting for subsidised gym membership or pensions, the employees decided they want the best possible career development advice.

'We've paid for outsourced expertise, so that everyone can meet with a development coach who comes in every second month or so,' says Octopus director Jon Lonsdale.

In a similar vein, Lewis pays for an independent financial adviser to come into its offices to discuss issues such as mortgages with its staff.

In line with its CSR activities, Geronimo PR gives every member of staff a day off each year for volunteering. In addition, one per cent of all agency profits are allocated to the 'social committee' that picks the destinations for staff bonding trips, which, so far, have included Paris.

So-called well-being benefits such as subsidised gym membership and duvet days continue to figure as a way of keeping staff happy and motivated, but are still in the minority. Among the intriguing newer benefits to be found are having your birthday off, a 24-hour helpline and eyesight tests.

Holiday allowances

Holiday entitlement appears to be rising, with those at the top end of the scale inevitably faring better than more junior PR practitioners.

In-house staff also tend to do rather better than those working in consultancy in this regard.

However, no job category averages 20 days or less. Agency account executives and press assistants working in-house in the private sector tie for the lowest average number of days off per year, at 22. The most senior public sector PR staff have the most generous allowance, averaging 28 days a year.

Given that PR remains a fairly youthful business, it was hardly unexpected that 13 per cent of our respondents have a child under six years old.

Changes to employment legislation introduced last year encouraged 21 per cent to ask their employers for flexible working and 14 per cent to request a change to part-time status.

Half of the flexible working requests were granted by employers, as were 40 per cent of the part-time working requests. So companies are becoming somewhat more family friendly by adopting policies to encourage women to return to the office after giving birth.

Getting this work/life balance right is a serious matter for employers if they are not to risk a severe talent drain.

The high proportion of accomplished women working in PR makes this a matter of graver concern. This is borne out by gender analysis of respondents to this year's survey: 65 per cent are female.

Training is very important to employees and is often a means of attracting them to a new company, particularly at a junior level. Employees really want training across all levels, and expect this to incorporate both on-the-job and more formal sessions.

Although nearly all employers will say that training is important, it still tends to be the first part of the budget to be cut.

Employers have cut training budgets in tough times over the last couple of years, although some are now realising they will lose staff unless they continue to train them at all levels.

Unfortunately, it is quite common for training to be promised, but then not delivered, which can lead to de-motivation among staff, causing them to seek alternative employment.

The majority of Salary Survey respondents, 57 per cent, said their company did not have a structured training programme in place. Yet more positively, 75 per cent said their employer had not cut back on training in the last six months - although 19 per cent said their employer had reduced training.

While it may be rash to assert that better times lie just around the corner, there is a definite sense that business conditions are improving.

It may well be the case that some gentle upward pressure is exerted on both salaries and bonuses as 2004 unfolds. Large rises are likely to remain a rarity, but benefits are becoming increasingly more important.

'There's certainly more confidence than there has been in the last couple of years,' concludes Kent. 'People are looking to 2004 for the return of a solid market.'

CASE STUDY: SALARY PROGRESSION IN-HOUSE

Dick Fedorcio, Metropolitan Police

Dick Fedorcio, who has been director of public affairs and internal communications at the Metropolitan Police since 1997, began his PR career as a publicity assistant at the Greater London Council in 1971.

His starting salary was £1,109 per annum, which included London weighting.

After a year at Basildon District Council on £1,800 he returned to the GLC in 1974 on £2,400.

In 1983 he joined West Sussex County Council on a salary of £25,000-£30,000, subsequently moving to Kent County Council in 1986 where he rose to become director of corporate communications on a salary of £45,000.

By 1993 he was director of comms at the Electricity Association and earning £55,000. His salary at the Met is in the £75,000-£90,000 bracket.

There have been a variety of benefits over the years. Paternity benefit was introduced during his time at the GLC, and one of his colleagues was among the first to enjoy it.

A flexi-time policy and a reduction in the working day by 26 minutes meant that Fedorcio was able to take one day off a month and, having accrued some considerable time, found himself working four days a week for a while.

A car came with his job in Kent as well as healthcare, and he has enjoyed season ticket allowances at both the GLC and the Met. Fedorcio identifies secure pensions as one of the big pluses of a career in the public sector.

As well as his frozen local government pension he belongs to a non-contributory final salary pension scheme through his job at the police force. For many candidates for PR jobs at the Met, Fedorcio adds, the generous pension is the benefit they find most attractive.

CASE STUDY: SALARY PROGRESSION CONSULTANCY

Helen Coop, BGB & Associates

After completing an MA in tourism studies, Helen Coop's first job in July 1992 was for telesales firm BCP on £9,000 per annum.

The job involved arranging business appointments for marketing agencies, including PR consultancies, and Coop took so much of an interest in what her clients were doing that she began to search for work in the PR field.

In March 1993 she landed her first PR job, as an account assistant at Holmes & Marchant Counsel, earning £12,000 a year. Unfortunately in November she was made redundant, but, determined to build her PR career, she found temporary work for travel specialist TPS.

This led in February 1994 to her landing an account executive job at Charles Barker, working on travel division clients such as Le Shuttle Holidays and World Travel Market. She rose to account manager on £20,000 a year before moving to a similar position at travel PR specialist BGB & Associates on a starting salary of £25,000 in June 1997.

Within a couple of years she was an account director, and thereafter rose to become an associate director.

For the past two years Coop has been a board director at BGB, overseeing clients including Sea France, the Wales Tourist Board, the Tunisia Tourist Office and Mark Warner.

'The challenge was getting the job at Charles Barker after getting made redundant when I thought I'd had my first break,' she says.

Benefits while she was at Charles Barker were private health and a bonus scheme. She also has these in her current role, together with a pension scheme with matched contributions from BGB and share options.

Additionally, discounted travel and holidays are available from many BGB clients.

IN-HOUSE PUBLIC SECTOR

HEAD/DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS

Salary brackets

£80,000+ 8%

£61,000-£70,999 10%

£46,000-£60,999 29%

£36,000-£45,999 46%

£29,000-£35,999 7%

Average age 43

Average holidays 28 days

Average salary increase £1,743

Benefits

Petrol or business mileage allowance 44%, Contributory

pension 82%, Maternity leave arrangements over and above

statutory requirements 44%, Paternity leave arrangements

over and above statutory requirements 31%,

Flexible working 72%

HEAD OF PR

Salary brackets £61,000-£70,999 4%

£40,000-£55,999 12%

£29,000-£39,999 60%

£23,000-£28,999 24%

Average age 40

Average holidays 28 days

Average salary increase £1,270

Benefits

Petrol or business mileage allowance 56%, Contributory

pension 88%, Maternity leave arrangements over and above

statutory requirements 36%, Flexible working 64%

PR/COMMS MANAGER

Salary brackets £56,000-£60,999 1%

£36,000-£45,999 9%

£26,000-£35,999 55%

£18,000-£25,999 30%

Under £18,000 5%

Average age 35

Average holidays 26 days

Average salary increase £1,423

Benefits

Petrol or business mileage allowance 53%, Contributory

pension 92%, Flexible working 64%, Mobile phone 56%,

Maternity leave arrangements over and above statutory

requirements 28%, Paternity leave arrangements over

and above statutory requirements 18%

PRESS OFFICER

Salary brackets £32,000-£35,999 2%

£29,000-£31,999 5%

£23,000-£28,999 44%

£16,000-£22,999 49%

Average age 28

Average holidays 26 days

Average salary increase £878

Benefits

Petrol or business mileage allowance 44%, Contributory

pension 67%, Mobile phone 44%, Free newspapers 35%,

24-hour helpline 2%, Eyesight test 37%, Maternity leave

arrangements over and above statutory requirements 21%

PRESS ASSISTANT

Salary brackets £21,000-£22,999 34%

£18,000-£20,999 33%

£16,000-£17,999 33%

Average age 23

Average holidays 25 days

Average salary increase £750

Benefits

Season ticket allowance 67%, Contributory pension 33%,

Maternity leave arrangements over and above statutory

requirements 33%, Paternity leave arrangements over and

above statutory requirements 33%, Eyesight test 33%

Where salary brackets are missing, no relevant data

was received

IN-HOUSE PRIVATE SECTOR

HEAD/DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS

Salary brackets £100,000+ 32%

£81,000-£99,999 18%

£70,000-£80,999 15%

£56,000-£69,999 8%

£40,000-£55,999 20%

£36,000-£39,999 7%

Average age 44

Average holidays 27 days

Average salary increase £3,981

Benefits

Company car 61%, Contributory pension 96%,

Performance-related bonus 75%, Profit share 29%,

Options of share ownership 50%, Paternity leave over

and above statutory requirements 43%

HEAD OF PR

Salary brackets £100,000+ 7%

£81,000-£99,999 9%

£65,000-£80,999 8%

£46,000-£64,999 20%

£32,000-£45,999 41%

£23,000-£31,999 15%

Average age 41

Average holidays 26 days

Average salary increase £2,366

Benefits

Company car 35%, Contributory pension 76%, Private

health plan 70%, Mobile phone 72%, 24-hour helpline 24%

PR/COMMS MANAGER

Salary brackets £51,000-£55,999 3%

£40,000-£50,999 17%

£32,000-£39,999 26%

£23,000-£31,999 40%

Under £23,000 14%

Average age 34

Average holidays 25 days

Average salary increase £1,432

Benefits

Company car 24%, Contributory pension 80%, Options

of share ownership 26%, Private health plan 44%

PRESS OFFICER

Salary brackets £32,000-£35,999 19%

£27,000-£31,999 10%

£23,000-£26,999 29%

Under £23,000 42%

Average age 28

Average holidays 23 days

Average salary increase £916

Benefits

Petrol or business mileage allowance 43%, Contributory

pension 81%, Mobile phone 57% Performance-related bonus 29%

PRESS ASSISTANT

Salary brackets £23,000-£26,999 29%

£18,000-£22,999 14%

Under £18,000 43%

N/A* 14%

Average age 26

Average holidays 22 days

Average salary increase £1,600

Benefits

Contributory pension 57%, Christmas bonus 43%, Profit

share 29%, Private health plan 43%, Eyesight test 29%

FREELANCE

Working across both in-house private and public sector,

and consultancies

Salary brackets

£60,000+ 22%

£51,000-£59,999 11%

£32,000-£35,999 11%

£16,000-£17,999 11%

Under £16,000 33%

N/A* 12%

Average age 35

Average holidays 26 days

Average salary increase £1,107

Benefits

Petrol or business mileage allowance 55%, Profit

share 27%, Flexible working 45%, Mobile phone 27%,

Free newspapers 27%

*This percentage represents respondents who did not wish to

divulge information on salary brackets

Where salary brackets are missing, no relevant data

was received

CONSULTANCY

CHAIRMAN/MD/CEO Salary brackets £60,000+ 40%

£40,000-£59,999 18%

Under £40,000 42%

Average age 52

Average holidays 26 days

Average salary increase £2,569

Benefits

Company car 15%, Petrol or business mileage allowance

56%, Contributory pension 41%, Performance-related

bonus 32%, Profit share 41%, Flexible working 47%

BOARD DIRECTOR

Salary brackets £60,000+ 46%

£40,000-£59,999 35%

Under £40,000 19%

Average age 42

Average holidays 25 days

Average salary increase £3,208

Benefits

Company car 27%, Contributory pension 46%, Bonus for

bringing in new business 35%, Option of share

ownership 19%

ACCOUNT DIRECTOR

Salary brackets £60,000+ 4%

£40,000-£59,999 40%

£32,000-£39,999 28%

Under £32,000 28%

Average age 36

Average holidays 22 days

Average salary increase £2,304

Benefits

Bonus for bringing in new business 36%, Contributory

pension 44%, Performance-related bonus 36%, Christmas

bonus 12%

ACCOUNT MANAGER

Salary brackets £51,000-£59,999 3%

£32,000-£39,999 6%

£26,000-£31,999 46%

Under £26,000 45%

Average age 29

Average holidays 23 days

Average salary increase £2,048

Benefits

Petrol or business mileage allowance 39%, Contributory

pension 42%, Performance-related bonus 36%,

Mobile phone 42%

SENIOR ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE

Salary brackets £29,000-£31,999 50%

£23,000-£25,000 12%

£18,000-£20,999 38%

Average age 26

Average holidays 23 days

Average salary increase £2,964

Benefits

Petrol or business mileage allowance 25%, Contributory

pension 50%, Performance-related bonus 25%, Bonus for

bringing in new business 25%, Mobile phone 38%, Season

ticket loans 38%

ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE

Salary brackets £18,000-£20,999 38%

£16,000-£17,999 32%

Under £16,000 30%

Average age 26

Average holidays 22 days

Average salary increase £2,104

Benefits

Bonus for bringing in new business 46%, Petrol or

business mileage allowance 23%, Contributory pension 23%

Where salary brackets are missing, no relevant data was received

PRWeek's sister titles in the US and Asia carry out their own research into PR salaries. Rob Gray reports

Globalisation has perhaps not been talked about as often or as enthusiastically during the downturn as was the case in the boom years of the late 1990s.

Yet one in five of our survey respondents have worked overseas since starting their PR careers. And almost one in three - 32 per cent - say there are opportunities to work overseas with their company.

As many now have the opportunity to work in different countries and the PR jobs market has become more international, it is worth taking a look at the salary situation in other key markets.

PRWeek's sister titles in the US and Asia published their most recent salary surveys in 2003 and 2002 respectively. As there are no figures yet for 2004 we are unable to compare salaries like for like, but each of the surveys reveal interesting patterns. Last year's US salary survey, for example, painted a picture of caution with regard to career moves and found that the average salary rise was 5.2 per cent, taking the average salary to $67,728 (£37,884). But it was a much healthier picture than the previous year, which highlighted a 0.22 per cent fall in salaries.

The top salaries by sector were in industry/manufacturing - the highest average at $76,316 (£42,688) - followed by food & beverage, hi-tech/internet, financial services and utilities/power. Sports came bottom of the 15 sectors analysed, behind non-profit/charity. The accolade of highest salary by job title went to senior vice-presidents who earned an average of $149,600 (£83,682), which was up 6.9 per cent over the previous year. Agency chairman/president/CEOs pulled in an average of $113,617 (£63,550), nearly five per cent down on 2002.

Average bonus in the US was five per cent for men and 2.4 per cent for women. Almost two thirds - 65 per cent - of PR professionals admitted to feeling under more pressure to perform at work than they did 12 months earlier. This led to a significant number of agency staffers - 15 per cent - to say they would leave their jobs for an increase of less than five per cent, proving that it remains just as important in the US as in the UKto sustain interest in the job.

Asian markets show diversity

In the 2002 PRWeek Asia Salary Survey, the average for those at the top of the consultancy ladder, such as the chairman or CEO, was US$82,500 (£46,143). Consultancy staff command the highest wages among their regional industry peers. In-house staff in the private sector command less still, while their in-house public sector cousins earn the least of all.

Obviously there are significant geographical remuneration differences across this diverse region. Consultancy bosses in Hong Kong, China and Australia earned over US$100,000 (£55,930), considerably up on their counterparts in Malaysia and Thailand whose remuneration was in the US$65-70,000 (£36,355-£39,150) bracket. Consultancy board directors earned about the same as their chiefs.

Those working in-house were paid less than the agency heads. In-house private sector heads of communications earned an average of US$77,500 (£43,340) while those in a comparable public sector role had an average salary of US$72,000 (£40,265).

Those working in Hong Kong were the best rewarded, on US$86,800 (£48,540), but those in Singapore were much worse off on US$47,500 (£26,560).

Private sector in-house external relations managers earned a mere US$32,500 (£18,170), perhaps indicating that corporates in Asia-Pacific do not attach a tremendous amount of value to the role. Performance targets were prevalent for the big private sector in-house jobs, with 78 per cent of communications heads and 50 per cent of PR directors receiving a bonus.

By the end of 2004 there may be substantial changes to global salaries.

Yet, if benefits are becoming an increasingly important part of an employment package, the chance to work overseas for almost a third of UK-based PROs should be regarded as a positive step to achieving an all-round package.

- For further information and breakdown of results, visit www.prweek.com.

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