INTERNATIONAL: US salaries remain flat as PROs fear for their futures

NEW YORK: After salary hikes of 7.9 per cent in 2000 and 17 per cent in 2001, average compensation for PROs has remained almost flat, down 0.2 per cent in the past year.

The PRWeek US Salary Survey 2002 reveals an industry in which some have suffered pay freezes or cuts and have been left fearing for their livelihoods - 33 per cent of respondents said they felt their jobs were under threat.

Older PROs were worse hit than younger ones: the salaries of those aged 35-44 fell an average of six per cent, compared with an average increase of two per cent for those age aged 34 and under.

Agency PROs suffered more than their in-house counterparts, their salaries falling an average of two per cent, while corporate PR compensation climbed an average of more than two per cent, increasing the gap between average salaries in the two work settings to 15.7 per cent.

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

This latest survey will add fuel to the debate over the disparity between men's and women's salaries. The average male salary last year was 43 per cent higher than the average female salary. The gap closed this year to 41 per cent.

Possible explanations include the fact men generally hold more senior positions, a higher proportion of men have jobs in better-paying disciplines, more male PROs have degrees and men have more experience on average.

The survey shows that black people still lag far behind white people in terms of pay.

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