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Comms professionals, do you know your worth?

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Posted: Apr 2022

Over the last two years, the Great Resignation has seen record numbers of people leaving their jobs, not just in comms but across most industries. Some of these people have left for more flexible work; some are seeking a change in lifestyle. But many have been spurred by the Covid-19 pandemic and associated social upheavals to take a deep look at their lives and what gives them purpose.

If you think the door has closed on the Great Resignation of 2021, we can assure you that the job market does not obey the calendar — the pursuit of greener professional pastures has marched on into 2022.

Faced with a cost-of-living crisis, comms professionals are on the hunt for better pay as inflation surges, but also more flexibility and meaning from their jobs after reconsidering their priorities during the pandemic.

So, is it a good time for comms professionals to move jobs?

We have certainly seen an uptick in movement and in-house comms teams coming to us as they are struggling to find the right skillset or calibre for their team. PR agencies seem to be crying out for professionals and finding it particularly challenging to hire at Account Director, Account Manager and more junior levels. These professionals move more frequently than more senior ones, leaving corporate agencies crying out for staff. They are experiencing ‘the double whammy’ as so many agencies have had strong revenue growth in 2021 and now they are struggling to resource the business they are bringing in.

Unemployment is low, companies are hiring, and due to various economic factors, including the after-effects of Covid, the job market is experiencing a war for talent.

Although money isn’t the only tool companies are using to attract candidates and retain staff, the salary uplifts being offered to new starters across the industry are the largest we’ve seen in years. When we examined the salaries of all the professionals who we placed in jobs in 2021, we found that average uplifts our candidates received in their base salary when they moved jobs with us was an astonishing 24%! That’s an increase of 11 percentage points from the previous two years (when the average uplift was 13%).

Are these pay increases the same for men and women?

Yes! We are happy to say that when we looked at the breakdown of these salary uplifts for women and men, women are fighting back, as they received larger uplifts when they moved jobs – an average 26% uplift in their base salary compared to men with 20%. Female professionals are getting savvier when it comes to their worth, and employers are making efforts to get it right.

More reasons to move…

Thanks to the Great Resignation and the shortage of talent, we are finding that companies are now more open and flexible on the requirements for open positions. They are looking at and appreciating transferable skills now more than ever. This puts career changers in a much stronger position than in the past. For example, corporate agencies which once would not consider professionals returning from in-house communications roles will now do so or perhaps consider business journalists wanting to move into comms.

What is encouraging is that more employers are also looking beyond pay increases to help attract and retain people by providing more flexible working opportunities and refreshing their benefits packages. We have noted about half a dozen corporate agencies recently looking at their maternity and paternity policy, taking steps to support employee health and wellbeing.

To sum up

So, if you’ve been considering a job move for a while or are feeling concerned about the increased cost of living, perhaps you need to ask yourself some questions. Is my pay at market rate? Am I progressing and do I have a clear path? Do I feel happy and challenged in this role? With last year’s 24% average uplift in basic pay in mind, now is a great time to take stock of your options.


The Works Search is a search consultancy specialising in PR and corporate communications. We have unrivalled matching abilities and are known for finding the top 5% performers in the industry - the ones who deliver and make your reputation great. For more advice or market insights, do get in touch with us on 0207 903 9291 or email: sarah@the-works.co.uk

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