PR Firm Salaries Show Stronger Gains Than Corporate Peers in 2008 Edition of The Official PR Salary & Bonus Report

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Spring Associates, Inc., public relations executive search and consulting firm has published its compensation findings in the 12th annual public relations and corporate communications study called The Official PR Salary & Bonus Report© - 2008 Edition.

Spring Associates, Inc., public relations executive search and consulting firm has published its compensation findings in the 12th annual public relations and corporate communications study called The Official PR Salary & Bonus Report© - 2008 Edition.

Salary, bonus and other information are compiled and analyzed using Spring Associates' private database containing detailed job information on nearly 20,000 credentialed PR corporate and agency professionals nationwide. The data is collected on a daily basis from direct communications between PR professionals and Spring Associates consultants.

Here are some informational snippets from the Report…

Salaries
Overall, average corporate communications base salaries increased 3.8% compared with the previous year's 3.3%. PR agency base salaries increased 3.9% compared to the previous year's decrease of -3.2%.

The eight "key metro cities" (those with the greatest number of PR professionals), New York, Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles Boston, Dallas, Washington DC, and San Francisco combined, posted an average salary increase of 4.2% for PR firms and an average increase of 4.0% for corporate communications departments.

The four major regions of the country - northeast, southeast, mid-west and west, (excluding the 8 key metro cities), reveals that corporate communications average salaries were up 3.3% while PR agency average salaries increased by 3.2%.

Salary Title Highlights
The biggest percentage increases in average salaries ocurred at the lower end of the title spectrum for both corporate and PR agency personnel.

Corporate Specialists:    regionally +5.0    8 key metro cities +5.5
Corporate Managers:    regionally +4.4    8 key metro cities +4.2
Agency Account Execs:    regionally +6.2    8 key metro cities +7.4
Agency Sr. Account Execs: regionally +3.8    8 key metro cities +5.8

Bonuses
When all titles and specialty categories are combined on a national basis, corporate communications professionals averaged bonus increases of 8.6% (prior year's increase was 6.2%), compared to PR agency personnel who came in with a 9.6% gain (prior year's increase was 11.2%) in bonuses.

Bonus Title Highlights (all specialties, nationwide)
CORPORATE: Specialist +16.1%, Manager +10.3, Director +7.3, VP +4.8, Sr VP +4.4
PR AGENCY: Acct Exec +12.4%, Sr Acct Exec +12.2, Acct Sup +11.2, VP +8.0,
Sr VP +8.3, Exec VP +5.2

PR Agency Hourly Billing Rate Highlights (all titles, regionally)
Ad Agency Owned: northeast +3.9%, southeast +4.0, midwest +4.2, west +5.0
Top 100 Independents: northeast +6.5%, southeast +4.5, midwest +4.6, west +4.7
Other Independents: northeast +5.5%, southeast +5.4, midwest +5.7, west +6.9

Observations
Typically, corporate communications average base salaries exceed PR agency salaries (this past year included), with the only exception being the dot-com boom years. However, when bonuses, merit increases, promotion increases, health benefits, pension plans and the like, are factored into the overall compensation picture, corporate communications professionals have consistently out-paced their PR firm counterparts. This fact has been noted for each of the past 12 years that The Official PR Salary & Bonus Report has been published.

2007 was a good year for PR and for the economy in general. The national home mortgage crisis and other underlying economic financial issues have not yet noticably affected PR compensation or job growth (as of Feb. 2008).

As in the year prior, most qualified PR professionals who sought a job, were able to find a job. As usual, the most qualified candidates had the luxury of choosing among multiple offers. Even the less than stellar candidates enjoyed a fair amount of attention when looking for a job.

On the agency side, account supervisors were those with the most coveted title. On the corporate side, manager and director were the most sought after.

Barring a full-blown recession or a catastrophic event(s), this looks like another profitable year for PR professionals and the industry as a whole.

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DENNIS SPRING
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