Study finds small salary hikes in comms

NEW YORK: According to a new survey by Mercer Human Resource Consulting, the recession has meant smaller pay increases and more reliance on bonuses and other performance-related incentives for corporate communications staffers.

NEW YORK: According to a new survey by Mercer Human Resource Consulting, the recession has meant smaller pay increases and more reliance on bonuses and other performance-related incentives for corporate communications staffers.

Mercer found the average salary plus annual bonus for a corporate communications VP this year to be $183,600. For a corporate communications manager, it's $101,800, and $70,300 for a PR manager.

Mercer changed the methodology for this year's survey, so it can't do year-to-year comparisons with its prior surveys. But its research indicates average pay raises for all corporate jobs at about 3.8% this year - the same as last year, said Susan Haberman, principal at Mercer. Average raises in 2000 were 4.4%. Average raises for communications jobs have tracked those for all corporate jobs, she said, so the same percentages apply to communications pros.

While raises have leveled off, "we continue to see the strong use of incentives," she said. One-fourth of the 229 companies surveyed predicted increased use of incentives in 2003.

Mercer found 86% of corporate communications managers are eligible for short-term incentives such as performance-based bonuses. In addition, 48% are eligible for long-term incentives like stock options. Haberman expects the use of long-term incentives to level off next year as companies assess new regulations and accounting issues tied to stock options.

"More and more companies are putting short-term incentives further down in their organization," Haberman said. For example, the survey found 54% of corporate writers are eligible for short-term incentives.

The survey also looked at corporate marketing salaries, finding that a top marketing officer made $207,800, and a chief product-management exec made an average $128,600 in salary and bonus. A brand manager made $82,800, while an advertising/marketing communications manager made $76,100 this year.

The survey was conducted this spring at companies with 3,500 or more employees, Haberman said.

INDUSTRY SALARIES

JOB MEDIAN TOTAL CASH COMPENSATION

Corporate Comms VP $183,600

Corporate comms manager $101,800

Creative director/design manager $90,000

Market research manager $88,700

Product (brand) manager $82,800

Ad/marketing comms manager $76,100

PR manager $70,300

Senior marketing analyst $57,100

Writer $50,600

Events planner $49,400

Graphic artist - associate $42,500

SOURCE: Mercer Human Resource Consulting

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