The Europe-wide survey of comms professionals found that women are paid less then men in all positions.
A male CEO of a comms agency takes home between €90,000 (£75,288) and €100,000 (£83,653) while a female would be paid between €60,000 (£50,192) and €70,000 (£58,557), according to the survey.
Meanwhile a female unit leader could see her pay reach €50,000 (£41,827) while a male colleague at the same level could receive €20,000 more.
The survey also revealed significant pay disparities between regions.
While countries in Western Europe top the charts in terms of salaries, most professionals in Eastern and Southern Europe earn less than €40,000 (£33,461) annually. This includes those in CEO positions and reflects the relative youth of the industry.
The downturn also affected PR resources, with more than a third of respondents saying they had lost resources, while only 22 per cent were able to strengthen theirs. This was despite 72 per cent of respondents believing their roles as communicators had become more important as a result of the economic crisis.
Joint survey author, professor Ralph Tench from Leeds Business School, said that not all practitioners had experienced the same degree of difficulties.
‘Almost one out of every five respondents (18 per cent) said comms had become more important and they had gained budgets and resources during the recessionary period,’ he commented.
Tench said that the differing experiences of comms departments depended on the role of comms within an organisation. Those comms departments that had a strong focus on facilitating business processes to support their organisation’s goals reported a ‘significantly better development of resources during the recession’.
The survey was based on a sample of 1,955 professionals from 46 European countries, almost 80 per cent of respondents were head of communications, unit leaders or agency CEOs.