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Unpaid overtime in PR

Almost a third of UK PR professionals work unpaid extra hours every day claims a study from Ginger Research. The poll of PROs, in agency, in-house and freelance settings, found that 27% work unpaid overtime every single working day. This compares with 12% of British workers across all industries who do daily unpaid overtime.

How often do UK PR professionals work overtime? 

On average, PROs work two full days (15 hours) every month on top of their scheduled days. As the average annual salary for PROs is £34,000, if they were paid for their overtime, they’d receive an average of £1,942 extra every year.

Key findings

  • 87% of British workers believe unpaid overtime is unfair
  • 12% of British workers do unpaid overtime on a daily basis
  • 27% of PR practitioners work unpaid overtime every day
  • Only 8% of PR practitioners claim to never work unpaid overtime
  • A third of agency MDs, 31% of in house PR directors and a fifth of agency account managers work extra hours every day, compared with 18% of agency account executives and 17% of in-house PR managers

Discussing how much overtime PROs put in, Matt Cartmell, deputy director general of the PRCA, says: "Ours is a hard-working and passionate industry and profession. But there’s a downside to that, which this research exposes – the excessive overtime that is sadly an expectation of some organisations. That a huge amount of overtime is worked by those in the industry, across all roles, is truly shocking and completely unsustainable from a staff retention perspective.”

Cartmell suggests ways the overtime epidemic can be tackled and how this will improve recruitment: “If consultancies and in-house teams want to keep recruiting the best talent – if our industry wants to compete for the best with advertising and all those other professions – forward-thinking initiatives such as flexible working have to become the norm. As does the use of specialists to bolster internal HR activity. Because talented practitioners will increasingly go where they know employers give a damn about their mental health.”


Ginger Research polled 1,500 British adults in employment about their attitudes to unpaid overtime, and how often they did it. The agency polled 300 PRCA members (all professionals in the PR and comms industry) and asked them similar questions. 

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