Study shows internal comms pros are underpaid and offers advice for getting a payrise

From ensuring leaders were communicating in an authentic and empathetic way amid the pandemic, to keeping employees engaged amidst the ‘Great Resignation’ and supporting executives with crisis communications amid geopolitical uncertainty, the role of internal communicators (ICs) has grown in significance over the past few years.

Too many ICs are underpaid

According to our second annual Internal Communications Salary Report, however, few know how to articulate the value they provide - and they are being underpaid as a result. Self-promotion can be uncomfortable and tricky, but when done right, it increases your visibility, builds a case for your ‘seat at the table’ and ultimately helps you negotiate the salary you deserve.

Closing the gap

Table 1: How much could IC professionals earn?

While most ICs see their earning potential plateau after 11 years of professional experience, those in the top 10% of earners see their earnings continue to rise.

How to earn more

Internal communications is a lucrative and rewarding career choice for those who stick with it but progress can be slow, with many ICs facing challenges when it comes to receiving support for professional growth. Unfortunately, this can mean that it’s easier to earn more when you job-hop, as opposed to advocating for a raise in your current role.

More needs to be done to close the gap and, fortunately, ICs have the power to change the situation. It might seem uncomfortable at first, but by asking for those well-deserved promotions and talking openly to managers about your value and money, you can help raise the bar for all IC professionals.

The power of recognition

Recognition is essential for building credibility with fellow employees and leaders, helping ICs to expand their programmes, secure more budget for additional tools, and demonstrate their value to organisations.

Yet, our research shows that ICs prioritise other factors such as culture (91%), people (83%) and flexibility (80%) ahead of recognition (46%) when it comes to job satisfaction. Whilst these are all vitally important, ICs should not underestimate the power of recognition to not only boost happiness at work, but also advance their careers.

Fortunately, there are a number of ways to get noticed both internally and externally. Applying for annual awards like the PRmoment Awards, IABC Gold Quill and IOIC awards, as well as building relationships with leaders and other partners who advocate your work are all great ways to get recognition.

Many IC experts also recommend ‘working out loud’ - making sure that everyone knows what you’re doing, when and why. Linking your communication campaigns to business outcomes is critical, alongside sharing your successes by circulating the results among stakeholders.

A call for salary transparency

In many cultures, discussing salary is not only frowned upon but actively discouraged by businesses. Often, this is at the detriment of employees who want to know if they're being fairly compensated.

Showing IC professionals their earning potential will help shed light on whether they are being underpaid, and give them an external source to reference in their salary negotiations and chart their career path. Ultimately, ICs play a vital role in organisations' success, and they must advocate for the tools, budgets, and salaries they deserve.

Curious to find out what fellow IC professionals are earning? Have a look at the global breakdown of average salaries here:


Table 2: Salary breakdown by geolocation

Methodology

The data for this report was collected by a survey conducted from 23 May – 15 July 2022. Data was collected via a web-based survey, and survey participation was promoted by email and social media. 1,016 anonymous respondents completed 33 questions about their compensation, work responsibilities, and other demographic details. The survey was conducted to explore internal communications professionals’ salaries, salary trends, and factors that impact their compensation.

Written by Kyla Sims, principal audience engagement manager at Staffbase

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