According to the Blue Skies winter salary survey of the UK PR industry:
“Since the last Blue Skies survey, the PR consultancy sector in London & the South East continues to demonstrate a robust recovery in recruitment activity levels compared to this period last year. We can report an overall increase in vacancy volumes during the last twelve months.As we indicated in the last survey, the volume of vacancies, generally, has continued to increase and candidates are proving constantly difficult to source, especially those with skills in the technology and healthcare sectors. Despite this, clients continue to be demanding with not much flexibility in terms of experience. Candidates must have the ‘relevant’ media contacts in order to secure even a first meeting. This can prove to be frustrating for those candidates who are willing and eager to look at the challenge of new sectors.
It may be that consultancies also need to be more accepting of those looking to move from in-house as they may be the answer to appointing that sector knowledge required, despite not having the agency experience. There have been a few success stories that we have been involved with that we can share, should anyone need inspiration.Our survey sees a slight rise in junior level salaries. This is backed by a survey carried out by Bournemouth Media School researching the careers paths of the IPR ‘approved’ PR courses in the UK. It reports that approximately 84% of PR graduates found work in PR within 6 months of graduating.
The 2004 figures show more students found work in consultancies than in-house, even though salaries can often be comparably higher on the client-side. It is also interesting to learn that a staggering 82% of the PR graduates were female.Senior level recruitment has continued to be stable. A much needed boost for people at this level who were hitherto confronted with a genuine lack of career opportunity. This level, however, still shows signs of seeing many PR professionals moving to in-house positions as there still appears to be a slight ageism issue in many sectors.
Many of the out-of-town agencies are still benefiting from candidates, more at the senior level, who are seeking to achieve a better work-life balance. It also appears that these companies tend to be a little more flexible on salaries or ‘softer benefits’, such as flexible working hours.These ‘soft benefits’ are also becoming of more interest to inner-London agencies too. Where companies are unable to ‘compete’ for candidates on salary alone, these are often worth highlighting as a means of keeping the best account handlers as well as attracting new talent.
Our advice to agencies in this position is to consider offering improved soft ‘added value extras’ for prospective employees. We never cease to be amazed at the difference a degree of imagination makes for the candidate. These types of benefits might range from duvet days, sabbaticals, client swaps, through to complimentary mobile phones, training budgets and gym memberships. All of these tend to be cheaper than simply paying out higher salaries. Granted, these benefits can’t happen overnight but we’d urge all Agency Heads to consider the potential value of these.”
By the numbers: title / average / maximum
Junior Account Executive (Grad) /£15k / £19k
Account Executive / £18k /£21k
Senior Account Executive / £20k / £25k
Account Manager /£26k /£32k
Senior Account Manager /£32k /£35k
Account Director £45k /£60k
Associate Board /£50k /£60k
Board Director /£60+k /£80+k
Managing Director / £90k / £140k