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Salary Guide 2024: Pay increases and bonuses are down, but happiness is on the up!

Posted: May 2024
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The Works Search Salary Guide 2024 – click here to download now!


This is the 15th year of publishing our much-anticipated annual Salary Guide for PR and Corporate Comms professionals. Despite the economic uncertainties of last year and a reduction in pay increases and bonuses, there is resilient optimism among communications professionals. Our survey of over 400 corporate communications professionals revealed much more than just pay and bonuses, we took an in-depth look at company benefits and found a misalignment between the benefits offered by employers and those desired by employees.

The persistence of the gender pay gap remains evident in corporate communications, disappointingly above the national average. Despite this it was interesting to note a rise in female promotions. And the enduring preference for in-house roles is still evident, presenting a tough hiring challenge for agencies. We also took a closer look at pension contributions, hybrid working patterns, who moved jobs and the redundancies which trickled across the industry.

Here are just some of the key findings:


Salaries - pay rises are down but professionals remain upbeat

  • Comms teams have been faced with tightened budgets in a landscape of ongoing economic uncertainty. While the 2023 technical recession didn’t fully come to pass, it still affected business, with cautious and slow decision-making, and reductions in both salaries and bonuses.
  • Overall, 70% of respondents received a salary uplift, a significant drop of 9%-points from the previous report when 79% received an increase.
  • The average salary increase across these corporate comms professionals was 5.5% (down from an impressive 10% average increase, reported the previous year).
  • While increases across the industry were fewer and smaller, 82% of in-house professionals and 76% of agency professionals reported being happy with their pay – the highest proportion of happy professionals in over five years. Good news for employers considering the reduced uplifts.


Bonuses are down although in-house are dishing out more

  • The report found that 59% of professionals received a bonus, this is down from 63% in ‘22 which is down on the year before.
  • The number of bonuses being paid out across the industry has gone up marginally for in-house professionals (71%, up 2%-points from the previous year) but down for those working in agencies (47%, down 7%-points from the previous year).
  • Across all respondents, the average bonus received was 18%, down 2%-points from the previous year. The average bonus for in-house professionals was 21% (down 2%-points) and 13% for agency professionals (also down 2%-points).


Benefits – the ones on offer are no longer the ones employees want

  • We polled professionals to find out which benefits they value most and the benefits that are currently being offered by their employer. Findings revealed that the benefits being offered by employers are not in fact always the ones employees want.
  • Benefits that support health and wellbeing, such as private healthcare, dental care schemes, wellbeing allowances and enhanced maternity and paternity pay, are all highly desired among professionals.
  • Findings highlighted a growing interest in sabbaticals being included in a company benefits package; it featured in the top 5 most wanted benefits. Yet only 24% of agency employers and a meagre 13% of in-house employers offer sabbaticals as a benefit.


Where do professionals want to work? In-house of course!

  • The survey shows that the appeal of working in-house remains strong – four times more attractive to professionals than working for an agency.


Gender pay gap is shameful considering the national average

  • The report found that the gender pay gap in corporate comms stands at 11%, way above national the average, which was 7.7% in April 2023 (ONS). While this gap has reduced by 4%-points since the previous year, the industry is some way off achieving gender parity.
  • The report showed that the tables have turned when it comes to promotions. In its 15 years of publication, for the first time, more women (19%) moved up the ranks than men (17%).


Do download the report for all the findings as they make interesting reading. Look out for more commentary in the coming weeks in our series of blog posts that will delve deeper into topics raised in the report. Make sure you are signed up to our weekly newsletter here.



For a free download of our full Annual Salary Guide 2024, click here.

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The Works Search: 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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