The PRCA said the industry has grown by 6.1 per cent since 2020, contributing “a record £16.7bn” to the economy based on last year’s value and “adjusted to 0.85 per cent inflation”.
The research was carried out by 3Gem, and was based on survey responses from 541 PR and comms professionals across the UK.
The average salary for all PR and comms professionals was £50,561, up more than £4,000 on last year’s figures.
For those in agencies, the average salary rose to £52,474 – up nearly £6,000 on figures from a similar study in March 2020.
The PRCA said the increase could be attributed to a more senior industry, due to redundancies over the past year that affected more junior than senior staff
Across the ranks in agencies, associate directors and account managers reported the biggest increases to salaries, with the others remaining largely static.
The average in-house salary also remained virtually unchanged, rising by about £600 to £46,974 this year.
For the top rank of in-house comms professionals, salaries soared from about £59,000 to £80,000. However, others, such as ‘head of unit’ or ‘junior executives’, received up to £3,000 less than in 2020.
The average annual earnings of freelance PR and comms professionals rose steeply from £49,370 in March 2020 to £56,638.
The PRCA said this figure should be treated with caution because freelance salaries were less stable and predictable, but it attributed the rise to an increasing reliance on freelancers to cope with an increase in workload caused by a reduction in permanent staff headcounts.
Average salaries were highest in London and south-east England, at more than £54,000, and lowest in the north-east, at nearly £37,000.
Francis Ingham, director-general of the PRCA, said: “The message from the Census is simple – the industry has roared back from the extraordinary shock of COVID-19. Teams are growing again. Incomes are rising again. The industry is confident again.”