If you are earning less than £21,000 as a PR account executive, then perhaps you should ask for a pay rise. According to the 2015 CIPR State of the Profession report, starting salaries are around this level for assistant executives. When it comes to more senior jobs, managers earn over £38,000 whilst the most senior directors average over £75,000. Average salaries rise steadily as seniority increases, with a particular jump of over £15,000 from manager level to the next step up, associate/head of comms.
Average salaries or incomes - by seniority (all respondents)
There has been a great deal of heated debate in the industry recently about the gulf between earnings of men and women in PR, and fuel is added to this fire by the findings of this report. There is a noticeable gender pay gap between the sexes. Arguments that women earn less than men because of such factors as them preferring to work part-time and taking career breaks to care for the family do not hold much water, as the study considered such variables to elicit the differences in salary that could only be accounted for by gender. It is a dismal reflection on the industry that looking at the differences in salary due to gender, men earn £8,483 more per annum than women in the same situations.
So what should be done to help get rid of the discrepancy between male and female salaries? Andrew Ross, public relations and policy manager at the CIPR says the first thing is to be aware of the law: “Public relations employers should be clear – paying a man one salary to do his job and paying a woman a different salary to do exactly the same job, no matter how better a negotiator a man is, is illegal – and has been in the UK since the 29 December 1975, that’s 40 years! What is stopping this being applied? The law occasionally punishes wrongdoers, but our own corporate culture prevents the issue being taken seriously or even being addressed. Hopefully, publishing the figures in black and white are prompting difficult conversations in the workplace.”
Ross adds: “Whilst some argue that improving women’s confidence in pay negotiations is a solution, it is looking at the problem from the wrong way round. The long-term solution lies in ensuring that pay systems and the people who operate them are capable of delivering equal pay. Over the next 12 months supporting employers to develop excellence in pay system management is a key strategic priority for us.”
Survation interviewed 2,028 PR professionals online between 14 October and 12 December 2014. The full dataset from the CIPR State of the Profession survey is available to download from www.cipr.co.uk/stateofpr
If you enjoyed this article, you can subscribe for free to our twice weekly event and subscriber alerts.
Currently, every new subscriber will receive three of our favourite reports about the public relations sector.