• getting-enough-dough

Are YOU being paid enough? What PRs really think about their salary

The results of the Workfish PR Salary Survey are in!  Find out what London PRs are being paid and what they really think about their salary…

51% of PRs are ‘meh’ about their moolah

‘Enough’ is a very subjective word.  In our recent survey we asked our fabulous candidates how much they earn, how long they’ve been in PR and whether they are happy with their financial lot.  Surprisingly, even people earning shedloads (definition of ‘shedloads’: nearly £100k) of cash can still be seriously unhappy with their remuneration.  Overall, 51% of respondents ranked themselves as either neutral (neither happy nor unhappy), not particularly happy or downright miserable with their financial reward.  The other 49% were either ‘reasonably’ or ‘very’ happy with their moolah.  PR has a reputation as a ‘well paid’ job but it certainly doesn’t seem to feel like that for nearly half of you.

Read on to find out what does make you happy and see how your salary compares to other people at the same level as you!

Money doesn’t make you happy (but pay rises do) 

When people come to us looking for a new PR role, they very rarely cite money as a driving factor, it’s almost always about recognition and feeling valued.  But, does a pay rise help you feel that your efforts have been acknowledged?

64% of respondents have had a pay rise in the last year, the remaining 36% have not.  Of those who were given a pay increase 65% were reasonably or very happy with their overall financial reward, 35% were neutral to seriously unhappy.  Of respondents who did NOT receive a pay rise, 25% were reasonably / very happy and 75% were neutral to seriously unhappy.  So it looks like pay rises are a must if you want your staff to feel recognised and rewarded and positive about their remuneration. The exception to this rule seems to be junior staff (any flavour of account exec) – even though 82% had had a pay rise, 76% were still somewhere between neutral and miserable about their pay.

How big’s yours then?

Most agencies still operate along the lines of Account Executives through to Account Directors and upwards with ‘manager’ and ‘senior’ roles dropped in for good measure.  Here we take a look at the highest and lowest salaries at each level, experience, age and how happy you are with your wonga.  As we said at the beginning, it’s not about the absolute amount you earn, there are people on low-ish salaries who are super happy with their reward, and there are people on megabucks who are miserable.  It all comes down to feeling valued.

Account Executives

From Junior to Senior Account Executives the salaries range from £16,500 at the lowest to £28,000 at the highest, with the average being £24,135.  75% of you have between one and three years’ experience, the rest between four and six.  Just over three quarters (76% are female) and 82% of you had a pay rise last year (the highest of any job level).  But all those pay rises don’t amount to a whole hill of beans with 76% of you saying you’re unhappy with your salary.

Account Managers

There’s a whopping £22k difference between the lowest AM salary (£23,000) and the highest (£45,000) with the average coming in at £32,688 across both AM and SAM (not all agencies have the SAM level which means people may stay at AM for longer).  The range of experience at this level is also very broad; 19% have one to three years’ experience, 68% four to six, 11% seven to nine years and 2% claim to have 10-12 (time for a promotion?!).  This goes to show that AM roles can really vary in terms of expectations, it’s at this level where you pick up a huge amount of the experience that will carry you through your career.  The gender imbalance is still present with 77% female.  Pay rises were awarded to 81% of you but, unlike your AE colleagues, only 51% of you are unhappy with your salary, which means nearly half are happy!  Whoop whoop!

Account Directors

ADs tend to have a significant amount more responsibility and this is reflected in the salaries at this level; they range from £38,000 at the low end to £55,000 at the high end with an average of £40,468.  £40k is a good salary but ten years ago ADs were earning the same so in real terms it’s actually gone down.   Well over a third of ADs (39%) have seven to nine years’ experience, 19% of you say you’ve got between four and six years on the clock, 4% have 10 to 12 years and another 4% have 12-15 years’ under their belts.  At the other end of the scale 9% have been in PR for between four and six years.  The gender balance shifts dramatically at this level; 65% are female, 35% male.  Pay rises were relatively thin on the ground at this level, possibly because you were already on a decent wage, but only 56% were awarded a pay rise. 55% of ADs are happy with their salary leaving 45% not best pleased, and although this is an improvement on other pay grades, it still means nearly half of you don’t feel justly rewarded.

Associate Directors and Directors

There is over £100k difference between the highest salary in this bracket (£163,000) and the lowest (£60,000) but this is probably because big agency will pay big salaries and some freelancers set up as limited companies are Directors but of a smaller operation.  The average salary comes out at £92,235.  35% of AD / Ds have over 15 years’ experience, 8% have been in PR for 12-15 years, 22% have 10-12 years in the hot seat and 26% have only been in the job for seven to nine years leaving 9% with four to six years’ experience.  The gender flip continues with an even split, 50% female and 50% male.  What’s happening to all the women?  They are not returning after having children because they can’t balance work and family life. Some agencies are trying really hard to hang on to their female talent but it’s still not enough.  52% of you had a pay rise this year and 54% are happy with your salary (but that still means 46% aren’t…).

The Workfish Salary Survey: thank you!

156 people responded to our email survey.   A huge thank you to all our participants for providing us with such fantastic insight!

If you’re among the 51% who are unhappy with your lot and think a change is what’s needed then come and have a chat or email us here.

Next up we’ll look at diversity in the PR industry (or the lack of it), which sectors pay the most, who’s working the longest hours and whether freelancers have got the best gig in town.


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