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2019 PR Recruitment Review / Salary Review

Despite the continued unsettled political situation in the UK, and another year of uncertainty over (what else) Brexit, the UK PR jobs market continued to thrive throughout 2019. 

Added on 16.01.2020

Overall, the UK had 'lowest ever' levels of unemployment, with the number of people in receipt of benefits also reduced: great news.

Salaries up

Overall, salaries increased in 2019 and the trend was particularly noticeable at the junior end. From Account Executives to Account Managers we noticed a significant increase across all sectors (and especially in Technology, Financial Services and Corporate roles, as you might predict).

Moving forward, we would expect this to start to have a knock-on effect on senior appointments, as these employees progress in their careers and rise through the ranks.

Around 60% of consultants received a pay rise and 25% received a rise of over 10%.

It seems that companies are more than willing to pay a higher price to retain skilled and talented workers.

In house roles on the increase

All our agency clients have been recruiting this year, but we also noticed an increase in the number of in-house vacancies.

Advanced technology sector sees growth

As technology continues to advance, so do the opportunities to promote it. As well as clients in AI, VR, automation and voice recognition, there were an increasing number of roles in FinTech.

We anticipate that the decline of print will become even more prominent in 2020, most consultants will need to upskill to have digital as an offering.

Why do people leave their jobs, and what do they want?

This remains consistent year on year: the main reason we see people leave is for (lack of) career progression.

After that reasons given are: 

  • renumeration; 
  • a role that better suits their lifestyle; 
  • people (a clash of personalities).

However employees do not stay just for a good salary. If they are unhappy with any of the other points above they will start looking, or be a target for a head-hunter.

Work life balance is becoming more and more important.

Companies that have not already started to address work from home (WFH) options really need to do so. Most PR agencies now offer the flexibility of WFH and/or flexible hours. As with 2018, this is the most desirable staff benefit and is even favoured over a bonus.

Around a quarter of employees in the sector work from home at least one day a week now, and where this is offered you will find the candidate will stay with the employer far longer than industry average (which is 3.2 years).

Job offers need to set out a full package

Packages are important to candidates also, and we have noticed an increase in the number of our clients coming to us for advice on what these should look like. What do candidates want to see as a package? Some ideas:

  • work from home options / flexible hours, early finish Friday, birthday off;
  • 25 (not including bank holidays) days as a minimum holiday allowance;
  • increase in holiday allowance with length of employment;
  • contributions to pension;
  • bonus (min 5%), new business bonus (average 10%);
  • private health cover contribution;
  • cultural events, summer & Christmas 'away days';
  • gym membership;
  • training budget;
  • phone & laptop, home broadband paid.

The most popular sectors?

Lifestyle was the most popular sector to work in, then Food & Drink / Technology joint second, then Finance, then Healthcare.

The Technology sector was the one sector with a real shortage of candidates: the demand for SAE / SAMs has outstripped the talent that is available in the market.

How candidates find jobs

Most PR professionals will choose to use a specialist recruiter to find a new role, followed by using internal network and then LinkedIn.

What are they being paid?

Here's the data from the last 12 months' worth of job vacancies that PR Futures have handled...

Agency, Permanent

  average pa min max
Account Executive £22,000 £20,000 £25,000
Senior Account Executive £30,000 £25,000 £35,000
Account Manager £35,000 £30,000 £40,000
Senior Account Manager £40,000 £38,000 £45,000
Account Director £48,000 £45,000 £50,000
Senior Account Director £55,000 £55,000 £65,000
Associate Director £70,000 £65,000 £80,000
Director £90,000 £80,000 £100,000
Managing Director £120,00 £100,000 £150,000

In-House, Permanent

  average pa min max
Press / Comms Assistant £22,000 £20,000 £25,000
Press Officer / Comms Executive £30,000 £29,000 £32,000
Senior Press Officer £37,000 £35,000 £38,000
PR / Comms Manager £45,000 £30,000 £50,000
Head of PR / Comms £60,000 £55,000 £75,000
Director of PR / Comms £85,000 £70,000 £100,000


  average pd min max
Press Officer / Comms Executive £115 £100 £130
PR / Comms Manager £220 £190 £250
Head of PR / Comms £355 £340 £370
Director of PR / Comms £500 £450 £550
Account Executive £125 £100 £130
Senior Account Executive £135 £120 £150
Account Manager £165 £150 £180
Senior Account Manager £200 £180 £220
Account Director £235 £220 £250
Senior Account Director £385 £250 £520
Associate Director £375 £350 £400
Director   £400