PR Exec Salaries Sharply Declined in 2009

March 18, 2010 ( – Recent research reveals that corporate communications and public relations executives saw double digit decreases in base salaries in 2009.

Spring Associates, Inc., apublic relations executive search and consulting firm, found overall, average corporate communications base salaries decreased 11.3% compared with 2008’s increase of 2.7%, and PR agency base salaries decreased 10.6% compared to an increase of 2.9% in 2008. According to The Official PR Salary & Bonus Report – 2010 Edition, when all titles and specialty categories are combined on a national basis, corporate communications professionals averaged bonus decreases of 17% and PR agency personnel averaged bonus decreases of 17.5% in 2009.      

The eight key metro cities (those with the greatest number of PR professionals) – New York, Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, Boston, Houston, Washington DC, and San Francisco – as a group, posted an average salary decrease of 9.6% in 2009 compared to an increase of 2.5 % in 2008 for PR firms, and an average decrease of 11.4% versus 2008’s increase of 2.2% for corporate communications departments.      

The five major regions of the country – northeast, southeast, midwest, southwest and west, (excluding the 8 key metro cities), reveals that corporate communications average salaries were down 9.9% compared to an increase in 2008 of 2.1%, while PR agency average salaries decreased by 11.2% versus the prior year’s 2.4% increase.      

By title, the salary changes in 2009 were:

  • Corporate Specialists: regionally -10%; in 8 key metro cities -12.9%;
  • Corporate Directors: regionally -11.8%; in 8 key metro cities -11.2%;
  • Agency Account Execs: regionally -13%; in 8 key metro cities -14.8%; and
  • Agency Exec VPs: regionally -7.5%; in 8 key metro cities -7.8%.


Spring Associates said its communication with PR pros in both corporations and agencies last year revealed a much greater loss of jobs in 2009 than in 2008. Those companies and firms that are hiring, tend to fall into the health care, pharmaceutical, consumer, and high tech/social media specialties.      

The report can be ordered from here.