PR salaries to be squeezed in 2019 - analysis

PR professionals looking for a new job should not expect a substantial rise in pay, as advertised salaries are forecast to track well below inflation this year, according to new data from recruitment firm Reed.

PR salaries are forecast to stagnate as economic and political uncertainty grips the nation
PR salaries are forecast to stagnate as economic and political uncertainty grips the nation

An analysis of eight different PR and comms roles – from the lowest paid PR assistant to highest paid communications manager – found only one advertised position (PR executive) could expect higher salary growth (4.6 per cent up on 2018) than the consumer price index, which has been forecast at 2 per cent this year.

The average growth in advertised salaries for the eight PR and comms roles is 0.95 per cent, which is well below salary growth last year (2.26 per cent) and in 2017 (2.6 per cent).

Three roles (PR assistant, comms manager and content marketing executive) are advertising marginal declines in pay, while PR managers, social media managers and social media executive roles are advertising less than 1 per cent salary increases compared to similar roles last year.

Last year, the PR and Communications Census found the average salary among UK PR practitioners had risen by just 1.9 per cent over two years.

Reed’s marketing and creative division analysed more than 10 million job posts since 2015 across multiple sectors to produce its 2019 Salary Guides. The research provides an indication of how advertised salaries change over time.

PRWeek has analysed the data and found two notable trends.

Firstly, senior roles on the job market are showing higher salary growth than junior positions, which resonates with the perennial challenges agencies and comms teams have to hold on to more experienced staff.

The second trend is that PR pay packets, in real terms, are being squeezed, but it’s not just PR salaries that are stalling.

PR salaries advertised in London not only were significantly higher than other regions, but had the sharpest increases on 2018.

In demand: digital and creative skills

Across the broader marketing and creative industry, jobs with niche digital skills and those that create impactful content have seen some of the largest increases in advertised salaries.

Roles such as user interface (UI) designer (4.3 per cent), graphic designer (4.5 per cent) and user experience (UX) designer (2.7 per cent) have experienced healthy increases this year.

Among roles more closely aligned with marketing (see chart below), fundraising managers have had a healthy 6.1 per cent rise in advertised salaries this year, while four roles (digital marketing manager, marketing analyst, marketing assistant and marketing co-ordinator) are seeing rises above inflation.

Jody King, director of Reed Marketing and Creative, said: "A level of digital skill is now expected in every marketing role, and it is a need that is developing and expanding as the industry continues to evolve. This is clearly demonstrated in this year’s salary guides, with a growth in salaries across the full marketing and creative spectrum."

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