After years on the incline, PR salaries freeze in 2002

NEW YORK: After salary hikes of 7.9% in 2000 and 17% in 2001, average compensation for PR pros remained almost flat, down 0.2% in the last 12 months.

NEW YORK: After salary hikes of 7.9% in 2000 and 17% in 2001, average compensation for PR pros remained almost flat, down 0.2% in the last 12 months.

The PRWeek Salary Survey 2002 depicts an industry in which some employees have had to stomach pay freezes or even cuts, and have been left fearing for their livelihoods - 33% of respondents said they felt that their jobs were under threat.

Older pros were hit worse on average than younger ones, with salaries of those age 35-44 falling an average of 6%, compared to an average increase of 2% for those age 34 and under.

Agency pros suffered more than in-house PR staffers, their salaries falling an average of 2%, while corporate PR compensation climbed an average of just over 2%, growing the already big gap between average salaries in the two work settings to 15.7%.

Ray Cucinello, global director of HR at Ketchum, commented, "You try to keep upgrading your talent base and rewarding top performance. But in a year like last, you have to take a look at your bonus structures and salary reviews. Some of our more senior people agreed to delay their reviews, for example."

This latest survey will only add fuel to the debate over the disparity between men's and women's salaries. The average male salary last year was 43% higher than that of the average female , a gap that closed slightly this year to 41%.

Experts, such as Maryland University Department of Communication professor James Grunig, believe the biggest factor explaining the difference is that "men hold more top positions than women,"a fact borne out by the survey.

Other possible explanations include: a higher proportion of men have jobs in the better-paying disciplines, such as reputation management and financial or IR; more male PR pros have graduate degrees; men have more years of experience on average, and men work more hours on average. However, Grunig doesn't think discrimination can be ruled out as a factor.

Discrimination cannot be ruled out in the debate over the pay gap between groups of different ethnic origin, either. Blacks, for example, still lag far behind whites in terms of salary.

- For the full story, see p. 17.

PRWEEKJOBS.COM HAS RELAUNCHED.

With over 32,000 registered candidates and a market share estimated to be in excess of 75%, prweekjobs.com was already the number-one site. But extensive research, including more than 60 interviews with top executive recruiters, has prompted a revamp to make finding a new job - or new staffer - even easier.

The improved site includes a fully searchable resume posting zone, the ability for candidates to save up to five search profiles, and the option to post intern and non-PR vacancies at no cost.

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