Opinion: Leader - Salary rises reflect hunger for talent

If Monday really was the 'most depressing day of the year' (someone give the Cardiff University PR team a pay rise) then PR Week's annual salary survey should bring some welcome cheer.

Salaries, particularly at the junior level, are edging upwards and pay and recruitment freezes are becoming rarer. Average salaries for in-house press assistants and agency junior account executives have risen by around £2,000 in the past 12 months. This is crucial for the PR profession as it seeks to recruit a new generation of talented communicators - a challenge highlighted by the new Government poster campaign which claims that new inner London teachers are guaranteed £22,000 a year, and maths teachers a further £5,000 'golden hello'.

A sign of the sudden hunger for fresh talent is the number of agency heads saying they are about to restore their graduate recruitment schemes after three or four years of retrenchment. But this simply hammers home one of this industry's weaknesses. To anyone who has been a PR agency graduate trainee, the on/off nature of graduate recruitment is only too apparent.

This is understandable given the size of the industry, still dwarfed even by the struggling advertising business, but it sends a poor message out to colleges across the country and leads to an uneven distribution of talent at different job levels. Can the IPR or the PRCA not co-ordinate a more consistent appearance for PR recruitment at university 'milk rounds'?

Salary Survey, p25. SUPPORT PRWEEK'S TSUNAMI CAMPAIGN

Growing affluence in the PR profession is a poignant reminder that hundreds of thousands in Asia continue to struggle to make ends meet in the aftermath of the tsunami. For this reason, PRWeek is supporting an event that aims to convert surplus product in the industry into money for those affected by the disaster.

Please read the story on our front page this week - and help out where you can.

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