Q1 Market View for 2015 reveals a salary uplift of 18% when you move jobs

23 Apr 2015 by Sarah Leembruggen.

In any job market, but perhaps never more than in today’s workforce, top talent can come and go in the blink of an eye, so a fast-paced recruitment process – from the time a candidate is introduced to a client to an offer being accepted – is a must. With the recession far enough in the past to make employees more likely to make a move, there are an increasing number of great candidates out there, ready for the hiring. We have upped the pace of our recruitment process with great success, and this has kept us well and truly on our toes.

How about salaries?

In Aug 2014, when we undertook the same snapshot survey, the average salary uplift was 12%. That average is now a very healthy 18%. The market continues to move in a positive direction and there is a strong demand for highly talented PR professionals. If you have been considering moving jobs and are hoping that in doing so, you will receive an increase in salary, it might well be the time to bite the bullet! If your salary has stood still for a while or increased only in line with inflation, a potential 18% increase could be the spark to propel you into action. Remember, in a candidate-short market, there is greater leverage to negotiate larger uplifts in salary.

As well as the positive increase, it was interesting to see that the average uplift for in-house and agency is exactly the same (18%). So you're going to get the same potential uplift whether you move to an agency or in-house.

What we did notice from our findings is that the more senior people in both agencies and in-house were the ones who commanded the great uplifts. A Director in an agency can expect an average uplift of 23% and an Account Manager would be looking at an average increase of 16%. An in-house senior role has a little more buying power with a Global Head of Comms receiving an average salary uplift of 34%.

PR Managers can expect a 20% uplift, Press Officers 13% and a PR Executive 6%. All very healthy figures.


Director/Partner - 23% uplift

Associate - 25% uplift

Account Director - 14% uplift

Account Manager - average 16% uplift, highest: 22%, lowest: 10%

Account Exec - average uplift 14%, highest: 16%, lowest: 12%


Global Head of Media - average uplift 34%, highest: 44%, lowest: 25%

PR Manager - average uplift 20%, highest: 50%, lowest: 7%

Press Officer - average uplift 13%, highest: 23%, lowest: 11%

PR Executive - average uplift 6%, highest: 8%, lowest: 3%

Overall uplift: 18%

Highest uplift: PR Manager in-house at 50%

2nd highest uplift in-house: Head of Media 44%

Highest uplift agency: 25% Associate

Which are the roles most in demand?

When the downturn hit the PR industry about four years ago, the agencies slowed their recruitment. As a result, there is a gap at Account Manager level and a shortage of candidates for the vacancies. Furthermore, with lots of independent PR agencies being set up with an eye to bringing a fresh approach to traditional PR, the demand for exceptional Account Managers is higher than ever.

The roles that have been most in demand in the last half-year are as follows:

In-house consumer teams

Six months ago, we were being asked for PR Managers and Press Officers like there was no tomorrow – and that is still the case. These roles are very high in demand.

In-house corporate communications teams

In these teams too, PR Mangers are highly sought after, especially in financial services and property.

Corporate and Financial agencies

Once again, Account Managers, followed by Account Directors have been in high demand. Financial services sector expertise is most desired.

Consumer agencies

Generalist Account Managers and Account Directors were in equal demand; personality and cultural fit have moved to the forefront.

In addition to the shortage of candidates for agency Account Manager roles, we have been faced with the equally tricky challenge of filling Associate Director level roles. Candidates know that they are high in demand so they can afford to be that little bit choosier. Most want an in-house role, which makes the agency briefs even harder to fill.

On the flipside, the easiest roles to fill in-house have been PR Managers, Directors of Comms and Heads of Comms. The desire for in-house is high and we are good at finding gems.

Our clients want people to have a real appreciation of integrated social media campaigns and creativity along with great new business skills. For those hot in demand Account Manager roles, good media contacts are naturally a must.

Across the industry, the mood continues to be buoyant with focus very much on long-term business growth. Things can slow down a little in Q2 as the ‘new job, new year, new resolutions’ phases pass. However, we haven’t felt much in the way of a deceleration here.

Do get in touch if you are looking for a hidden gem or you are thinking about your next career move. We would be delighted to help.

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