PR News Salary Survey: Despite Modest Raises PR Pros Satisfied With Pay, Career Choice

Perhaps it’s the influx of college graduates seeking jobs or the beginning of vacation season, but June always seems to bring salary surveys. Equilar’s 200 Highest-Paid CEO Rankings for The NY Times hit last week. The Wall Street Journal followed with its survey of S&P 500. Both said CEO pay fell in 2015, a modest 5% in the Journal’s poll, a heftier 15% in the Times’ poll. Expedia CEO Dara Khosrowshahi topped both lists at nearly $100 million. Neither study found much correlation between CEO pay and company performance.

Similarity was a mainstay of the 2016 PR News Salary Survey, too, despite inclusion of salaries for several job titles not polled previously. As with the 2015 survey, we looked at salaries and compensation packages for 800 PR pros polled online for six weeks earlier this year. 39% of PR pros told us their salary increases were modest (1%-3%) (Figure A). In addition 32% received no salary increase or said salary increases did not apply to them. As in 2015, most PR pros (87%) in 2016 said they were very or moderately satisfied with their occupation and, believe it or not, their pay packages (68%) (Figure C). Regarding salary and retention, Rick Gould, managing partner, Gould + Partners, said, “Firms should follow the PR News Salary Survey to know they are paying market rate…then add 5%-10%...for those staff who are productive, profitable and provide exemplary service.”

A surprise: measurement (18%) and financial acumen (10%) continue to lag among skills PR pros see as critical for career advancement (Figure D). “That’s the most depressing news I’ve heard all year,” said measurement advocate/Paine Publishing CEO Katie Paine. “The notion that business pros who may be responsible for an organization’s reputation don’t need to have financial acumen or measurement knowledge is ludicrous.” McDougall Communications presidentMike McDougall weighs in on this topic [McDougall's June 6, 2016, essay is available elsewhere on this site.]



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