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Have salaries increased in corporate comms?  Our Salary Guide findings are revealed

09 Jul 2019

We examined the salaries and bonuses of 1,139 corporate communications professionals across Greater London for the period of January 2018-December 2018.

Key findings included:

· The average salary increase for all respondents was 6% – the same figure we reported in the previous year

· More agency professionals received increases – 83% compared with 76% of in-house professionals

· Agency professionals received larger increases

· In-house still pay larger bonuses (average of 19% of salary, compared with 14% in agencies)

· In-house offer more ‘higher value’ benefits

Why haven’t salaries moved?

There has been very little movement in average salary brackets across all levels, in both in-house corporate comms companies and agencies.

This stagnation may well be a symptom of Brexit and the uncertain times we live in now; however, we continue to see large corporates investing in building their communications teams, readily replacing vacancies and the corporate agencies seem to be thriving although they continue to grumble about tight margins.

Just how serious are agencies getting about playing catch up with in-house companies?

They are certainly giving it their best shot. Our survey found that agency professionals received larger increases – 26% receiving a 5-10% increase, compared with 11% of in-house professionals; 13% receiving a 10-20% increase, compared with 11% of those working in-house, and no one had their pay cut.

We know that agencies are more agile when it comes to progressing staff, as there are more layers of progression and opportunities to move up, which could account for the healthy quantity of agency pay increases.

Even though the agency bonuses still aren’t as big as the ones on offer in-house, they are certainly closing the gap. The in-house average bonus of 19% has slid a percentage point since the previous year, whereas the agency average has risen 2 percentage points to 14%.

Times are uncertain, and all businesses are having to work in what can only be described as a ‘cloudy’ market, but agencies seem to be faring well.

Is this a wake-up call for in-house companies?

Possibly. While the agencies are stepping up in the salary and bonus stakes, the desire for in-house roles is still very strong. Our survey found that 70% of
professionals want to be in-house if they move jobs; only 14% would consider moving to an agency. Obviously there is still work to be done – maybe a look at benefits would be a good starting point.

The corporates and their in-house comms teams come into their own with attractive benefits packages that include contributory pensions, private healthcare, mobile phones and death in service. Agencies do offer these benefits, although not to the extent of major corporates, and the uptake is far less.

The most common company benefit provided by agencies is fresh fruit, so there may be some catching up to do here!

To sum up …

Our overall impression is that agencies are making more of an effort to reward and retain their staff, rather than lose them to in-house communications teams.

For a full breakdown of salaries, bonuses and benefits, download our Annual Salary Guide

Salary Survey 2018 - 2019