Empowering the Freelance Economy

PR and Comms salaries revealed – is it time to negotiate your pay rate and benefits?

PR and Comms salaries revealed - is it time to negotiate your pay rate and benefits?
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Despite movement in salaries for in-house communications teams or agencies remaining stagnant, if you don’t know how your pay and benefits package compares to others, you could find that you are seriously underpaid. This is especially the case for those breaking out in the industry or those ready to set up their own content, communications or public relations business.

The average salary increase over the past year was 6%, according to The Works’ Annual Salary and Benefits Guide, a search consultancy which conducts surveys to report on the salaries and bonuses in the PR and corporate communications industries. This was the same figure as reported in 2018. That said, 77% of in-house professionals received a pay rise; 71% of agency professionals were rewarded with an uplift.

The most notable average uplifts were at the CEO and MD levels in agencies. When it comes to in-house comms teams, Senior PR/Comms Managers and PR Officers fared best with 65% of comms professionals reporting that they were happy with their pay.

“I sat up as one of my team walked into a meeting with The Works Search Salary Guide. I knew it was negotiation time.”

STEPHEN BETHEL, Corporate Affairs Director, BRC (British Retail Consortium)

Bonuses in-house v. agency

The biggest bonuses were awarded to senior professionals in-house. However, bonuses were more evenly distributed in agencies. and more agency professionals received a bonus.


In-house professionals continue to receive higher value benefits. Plus,
a higher proportion of in-house comms teams enjoy a flexible working policy. Agencies, however, area lagging behind in their mental health
and wellbeing provision.

Top tips when determining your day or hourly rate

By asking these questions you can frame your pitch in terms that a client can appreciate.

  • How much time are you saving your client so that they can get on with their job and their objectives? Can you quantify that time into a figure in terms of their manhours and salary?
  • Can you bring industry insights through engaging content or proprietary data that will generate new business for your client?
  • Can you empower your client to become an expert in their field through guidance and media coverage backed by industry-leading reports and media training?
  • Back up your rate with deliverables and examples of your work.

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