Let’s not pretend that money isn’t important. Of course it is. It’s the reason we get up in the morning, braving the British weather, putting up with the packed public transport, and working late into the night on important projects.
But it’s not everything. Which is why Hartigan’s annual salary survey looks beyond the pay packet and asks PR professionals what other benefits they get from their employers.
As you can see in the infographic below, salaries rise from an average of £20,000 a year for the most junior member of staff up to £79,000 for board directors, but with big fluctuations between the upper and lower limit for each job role. For example, our survey found that Account Executives can expect to earn anywhere from £18,000 up to £30,000 – so one worker could be making 66% more money for doing essentially the same job.
Of course, different disciplines pay different rates, with corporate and financial specialists typically earning more than consumer PRs. But it’s also important to remember that job roles can be very subjective. One agency’s Account Manager is another’s Junior AD, while many PR firms dispense with the JAE / Account Assistant role altogether. It’s best that employees not get fixated on job titles, and instead focus on how valued they are made to feel.
Which is why benefits are so important – as evidenced in our survey’s benefits section. This found that today’s PR professionals enjoy a range of employee benefits, from private healthcare (available to 66% of our respondents) to mobile phone allowances (83%) to workplace pensions (100% – hardly surprising, given auto-enrolment has become compulsory).
Public relations is a highly competitive field, and agencies compete hard to recruit and retain top talent. It’s great to see PR firms committing to a range of workplace benefits, although it would be great to see some of these benefits more widely adopted than they currently are.
For example, only half of agencies provide a season ticket loan or the cycle-to-work scheme – programmes that can bring real benefits to employees’ cash flow and quality of life. A third of agencies offer equity or share options – again, a great start, but the industry still has some way to go before the John Lewis model becomes the norm. Personally, I’d like to see recruitment bonuses (currently at 66%) become a standard part of workers’ contracts, because it brings real and immediate value to an employer…but that’s a recruiter’s opinion!
But fostering a happy workforce is about more than money; more even than perks. Employees have to feel that they are growing and developing their skill sets. Which is why I was delighted to see that every respondent in our survey enjoys external training opportunities.
I think the PR industry deserves a giant pat on the back for its commitment to training, as no single benefit is more meaningful and rewarding for employees – while also enabling employers to get more out of a happier, more valued workforce.