'Frankly embarrassing' – marketing and PR interns second-worst paid of any sector, survey finds

Fashion is the only industry where interns are paid less than in marketing and PR, new research suggests.

(Image: kate_sept2004 via Getty Images)
(Image: kate_sept2004 via Getty Images)

The average monthly wage for an intern in marketing is £800, according to the research from investment information service Invezz.com. These internships cover an array of job roles in digital marketing, PR and communications.

Invezz.com pointed out that the monthly average salary is below the national living wage. This statutory figure, which applies to staff aged 25 and over, is currently £8.72 an hour, or about £1,327 a month. The minimum wage, for people aged under 25, is £8.20 an hour (about £1,248 a month).

Only fashion (£600 a month) pays less than marketing. Sales is third bottom in the list (£950), below design (£1,200) and HR (£1,380).

Those five sectors were highlighted as the worst for paying interns. At the other end of the scale, the highest-paid interns are in consulting, where their monthly payment is more than double that of their marketing/PR counterparts (£1,700).

'Business' – including business strategy, business development and global strategy – was second, on £1,550 a month, followed by finance (£1,500), research (£1,450) and web development (£1,440).

The research looked at 1,233 internships advertised on Indeed.co.uk. Of these, 156 were in marketing/PR. All data was collected on 30 November 2020.

Since 2017, the PRCA has urged PR employers to pay interns and all staff at least the Living Wage (currently £9.50 an hour, or about £1,446 per month) or the London Living Wage (currently £10.85 an hour, about £1,651 per month).

PRCA director-general Francis Ingham said: “These numbers are frankly embarrassing for our industry. Interns aren’t volunteers – they’re part of the team, and they deserve to be treated and rewarded as such. Much progress has been made in recent years, but clearly we need to do more, and we would urge employees to do the ethically compelling thing, and pay their interns a fair amount for their work.”

Talveer Sandhu, a spokesperson for TheKnowledgeAcademy.com, said: “The job market is competitive, which is why internships are a proactive stage of attaining that necessary experience for a step on the career ladder. In the past, internships have received negative press, with many employers not paying their interns accordingly, so it is reassuring to see that many industries are breaking through that stereotype.

"However, it is still abundantly clear that certain sectors need to pay their interns more fairly with a realistic living wage.”

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