Comms a necessity at all times, good and bad: Robert Walters

Having released its Global Salary Survey for 2016, a senior exec at the specialist recruitment firm said comms staff tend to escape restructuring or cost-cutting measures because they are viewed as a necessity

Wendy Heng
Wendy Heng

There will always be a place for the communications function in an organisation, no matter what the economic outlook.

That was the observation of Wendy Heng, associate director for sales & marketing at Robert Walters Singapore when asked about recruitment opportunities for in-house communications professionals in the market.

"In good times or bad, you’re still going to need a communications practitioner in-house," she added. "It is a necessary and stable function in most companies and I’ve never seen a huge rise or fall in the number of positions."

Heng was speaking to PRWeek Asia during the launch of Robert Walters’ latest annual Global Salary Survey last week.

She added that if a company does undergo cost-cutting measures, communications roles are typically shielded, as it is one of those functions recognised as a necessity rather than a luxury.

"There is always going to be need for it because how you could not have someone look after external outreach or crisis communications?" she said.

According to research from the specialist professional recruitment firm, the competition for Singaporean talent is set to further intensify in 2016, driving more demand for attracting returning overseas Singaporeans.

In the interest of developing a home-grown workforce and adhering to Singapore’s Fair Consideration Framework, which requires certain conditions to be met when employing new staff, hiring managers have recognised the viability of overseas local workers to ease the talent crunch.

Data published suggested that salaries are expected to remain relatively flat in 2016, though candidates with in-demand skills can anticipate an average salary increment of 10 to 20 percent when switching jobs.

Heng said that while in most positions, local talent is typically preferred due to reasons such as a pre-existing affinity or knowledge of the market; this is not the case for communications functions in sectors such as healthcare.

"There is a lot of foreign talent in senior PR or communications functions in healthcare," she added. "Mainly because clients prefer candidates with strong industry experience over geographical experience."

In the case of pharmaceutical companies based in Singapore, the talent pool isn’t deep enough to rely solely on local talent – it remains difficult to find enough candidates with industry-specific exposure.

"What is specific to geography is your network and for the communications function in these sectors, priority is given to industry expertise," she added.

Heng said that while the comms sector is quite stable, it is also a double-edged sword as in-house teams are not big to begin with.

"They’re always stretched too thin with a limit to how much external agencies can do," she added. "So while its stable, it is also not seen as revenue-generating function so it’s hard to justify additions to the head count – In contrast, the sales function is easier to justify."

Below are some excerpted salaries from around Asia, from the Robert Walters Global Salary Survey. Salaries are listed in USD per annum, converted from local currencies.

Sydney, Australia

Position

Industry sector

Salary range (USD)

 

 

2015

2016

Communications Manager

Banking & Financial Services

77,000 – 91,000

84,000 – 98,000

Senior Brand Manager

Sales, Marketing & Communications, Consumer goods

87,000 – 98,000

87,000 – 105,000

Brand Manager

Sales, Marketing & Communications, Consumer Goods

66,000 – 84,000

66,000 – 91,000

 

Shanghai, China

Position

Industry sector

Salary range (USD)

 

 

2015

2016

PR manager

Sales & Marketing, Cosmetics

30,000 – 76,000

45,000 – 76,000

PR manager

Sales & Marketing, Professional Services

45,000 – 84,000

45,000 – 90,000

PR manager

Sales & Marketing, Retail & Luxury – National/Regional

45,000 – 90,000

45,000 – 76,000

PR & Events Manager

Sales & Marketing, Retail & Luxury – National/Regional

60,000 – 90,000

53,000 – 68,000

 

Hong Kong, Greater China

Position

Industry sector

Salary range (USD)

 

 

2015

2016

Head of Corporate Communications

Sales & Marketing, Financial Services

193,000 – 257,000

193,000 – 282,000

Head of Internal Communications

Sales & Marketing, Financial Services

167,000 – 205,000

167,000 – 218,000

Corporate Communications Manager

Sales & Marketing, Financial Services

77,000 – 116,000

77,000 – 128,000

PR Manager

Sales & Marketing, Retail

58,000 – 83,000

64,000 – 90,000

 

Jakarta, Indonesia

Position

Industry sector

Salary range (USD)

 

 

2015

2016

Marketing Communications Manager

Sales & Marketing, Marketing

28,000 – 33,000+

28,000 – 42,000+

PR Manager

Sales & Marketing, Marketing

23,000 – 33,000+

23,000 – 36,000+

 

Tokyo, Japan

Position

Industry sector

Salary range (USD)

 

 

2015

2016

Communications Manager / Director

Sales & Marketing, Retail & Hospitality

59,000 – 110,000

59,000 – 110,000

 

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Position

Industry sector

Salary range (USD)

 

 

2015

2016

Communications Director

Sales & Marketing, General Marketing (consumer)

42,000 – 62,000

42,000 – 65,000

Communications Manager

Sales & Marketing, General Marketing (consumer)

25,000 – 37,000

25,000 – 37,000

Communications Director

Sales & Marketing, General Marketing (IT&T / Industrial)

42,000 – 62,000

42,000 – 62,000

Communications Manager

Sales & Marketing, General Marketing (IT&T / Industrial)

20,000 – 28,000

20,000 – 34,000

 

Singapore

Position

Industry sector

Salary range (USD)

 

 

2015

2016

Corporate Affairs Director

Consumer & Technical Healthcare, PR & Communications

98,000 – 125,000+

98,000 – 140,000+

Public Relations Director

Consumer & Technical Healthcare, PR & Communications

84,000 – 125,000+

84,000 – 125,000+

Corporate Communications Manager

Consumer & Technical Healthcare, PR & Communications

56,000 – 84,000+

56,000 – 84,000+

Public Relations Manager

Consumer & Technical Healthcare, PR & Communications

49,000 – 84,000

49,000 – 84,000

Corporate Communications Director

Sales & Marketing, B2B & Industrial

105,000 – 175,000

105,000 – 175,000

Public Relations Director

Sales & Marketing, B2B & Industrial

84,000 – 140,000+

84,000 – 140,000+

Corporate Communications Manager

Sales & Marketing, B2B & Industrial

56,000 – 105,000

56,000 – 105,000

Public Relations Manager

Sales & Marketing, B2B & Industrial

56,000 – 84,000

56,000 – 84,000

 

Bangkok, Thailand

Position

Industry sector

Salary range (USD)

 

 

2015

2016

Public Relations Director

Sales & Marketing, Consumer & B2B

42,000 – 55,000

44,000 – 61,000

PR Manager

Sales & Marketing, Consumer & B2B

24,000 – 42,000

27,000 – 44,000

 

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Position

Industry sector

Salary range (in USD)

 

 

2015

2016

Corporate Affairs Director

Sales & Marketing, Marketing

90,000 – 105,000

84,000 – 105,000

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