It seems crazy to suggest that PR salaries went up, on average, by
18% in 2000. 'That can't be right,' has been the cry. 'Perhaps in
hi-tech,' people have suggested, tentatively. 'In New York. In the Bay
Area.' Wrong, wrong and 5,000 times wrong.
As the saying goes, numbers don't lie. And we've got the salary details
of 5,000 PR practitioners, of every age, in every sector, across every
discipline, and throughout the US, to prove it (see PRWeek/Text 100
Salary Survey 2001, p. 23).
PR salaries in 2000 were indeed out of control. At least from the
employers' point of view. How could they not be? Couple unprecedented
growth in a white hot economy with a severe talent shortage, and you
have an easy formula for spiraling wages.
Don't just blame hi-tech either. Salary growth in this sector was
unsurprisingly the highest at 27%. But pay claims were well above
average across every sector - even in the fiscally conservative arenas
of nonprofit and government. PR talent, in 2000, was at a premium,
Now, as the PR industry faces up to an economic hangover, salary demands
are expected to calm down. But if you're an employer, don't think
expectations and the trend of job mobility will disappear. If last year
teaches us anything, it is the value of people in our business. People
stock is up, and rightly so, because the value of PR has been so much
If, as an employer, you cannot provide stimulating work, proper
training, new career opportunities, and continuing growth in
remuneration, you will lose out. 5,000 times over.
BSMG a pawn in IPG's seismic play
As another 'mid-size' communications group (True North) was almost
routinely gobbled up this week, it's becoming increasingly hard to see
the value of all this deal-making to the person who matters most: the
customer. Then again, it's not about customers, is it? It's about
Certainly, we can see nothing in this latest deal that benefits BSMG,
the highly successful if relatively small public relations arm of True
North. Whereas the recently mooted deal between True North and Havas
would have aided BSMG's global expansion, especially in Europe, it's
hard to see the 'reach' that the IPG deal offers.
Perhaps the deal's most intriguing aspect concerns BSMG's position
within the new giant company. In an interview with PRWeek, IPG's Allied
Communications Group (ACG) CEO Larry Weber urged BSMG to join his
division so that BSMG is not a slave to True North's ad agency, FCB. but
we think the prospect of Harris Diamond reporting to Weber an unlikely
scenario, for two reasons. First, Diamond is no slave to advertising.
While enjoying a healthy relationship with FCB, BSMG is not its puppet,
with Diamond reporting directly to True North CEO David Bell, and also
chairing True North Diversified, an organization which directly mirrors
But it seems to us that this deal is about bigger things than PR.
(Interpublic doesn't even stand to have No. 1 status in PR. IPG still
stands third in the PR stakes behind Omnicom and WPP.) It's a question
of alignment of huge continental plates. Having tidied up its PR
portfolio with the creation of Weber/Shandwick in support of
McCann-Erickson; and the bolstering of Golin/Harris in support of Lowe
Lintas & Partners, this deal is about bolting on a third ad agency, and
a third PR agency is bolted on beside it in support.