Who got the biggest pay increases? And are agencies thinking about their employer proposition?

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Posted: Jun 2022

According to our latest annual Salary Guide, which takes a detailed look at compensation for corporate comms professionals, agency salaries have increased, particularly at the delivery level.

Last year, salaries increased by an average 7.5% at all delivery levels (Account Executives to Associate Directors). We know that many agencies were hiring at these levels, and that they were most in demand, so the increase could have been part of their attraction and retention strategy. Furthermore, the bigger uplifts were awarded in agencies, with 29% of agency professionals receiving a significant pay increase of 11% to 30% (compared to 13% of in-house professionals).

Our survey also revealed that the sought-after delivery levels were the ones getting the most promotions – 69% of Account Directors received a promotion, closely followed by 67% of Account Managers, a stark contrast to the equivalent in-house levels (just 30% of Senior PR/Comms Managers and 14% of PR Managers moving up the ladder).

While the findings of our survey illustrate that agencies are a great place to work if you are looking for an attractive compensation package, there are a number of other considerations that make an agency role appealing.

Agencies are ideal for those who want to learn the ropes and receive training and exposure across a variety of disciplines and industry sectors. Agency work fosters progressive thinking and a fast pace; getting promoted also happens quickly as there are more levels in agencies, offering individuals the chance to aim to move up the ladder swiftly. This of course leads to a pay rise. Most corporates with in-house comms teams carry out annual pay reviews, and while there are many agencies which do the same, there are some that do things differently and promote people when they are ready – that may mean two uplifts in a year.

Our survey found that the benefit comms professionals really want is hybrid working. 90% of respondents will only consider a role if it offers some form of flexibility. Those looking for a new role are now requesting hybrid working and stating how many days they find acceptable to work in an office — it’s clear that it’s an important factor in their decision-making process. With many agencies fully embracing hybrid working and flexibility, and making it clear that it’s a benefit that’s here to stay, agencies are positioning themselves favourably as desirable places to work right now.

Looking forward, a strong employer proposition is critical. Proposition, vision, the split between home and office, and employee benefits are all important factors. People have re-evaluated their lives over the past two years and employers need to be able to sell themselves to employees.

If you’re an employer who is hiring, invest in your proposition and look at salary bands so that your role is as attractive as possible to employees.

To read more about the findings of our Annual Salary Guide, you can download it here.

The Works Search: a search consultancy specialising in PR and corporate communications. We have unrivalled matching abilities and 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

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