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Though the Job Market for PR Pros

Though the Job Market for PR Pros

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Published by nuwexler

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Published by: nuwexler on Mar 01, 2010
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03/01/2010

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2010
Though the job market for PR pros shows some improvement,employers and job seekers are still proceeding with caution
 
T
hough the PR industry is still reeling from the grimrealities of 2009, the recovering economy is steadily – albeit slowly – creating new opportunities for PR practi-tioners willing to accept the industry’s “new normal.” Today’s job market offers fewer positions with fiercercompetition, tempered salaries, and is kindest to thosesteeped in digital know-how. But as the economy limpstoward recovery, many expect more robust hiring and foragencies to clamor to retain talent who felt overworkedand underappreciated last year. The 2010
PRWeek
/Bloom, Gross & Associates (BGA)Salary Survey polled 1,007 PR professionals across various work settings and disciplines. Of the respondents, 46% work for a PR agency; 25% work for a corporation;8% work for nonprofits; 4% are self-employed/freelancers;4% work in education; 3% work in government; and 2% work for a trade association. The survey findings show modest improvement of a bat-tered economy. While only 13% of respondents changed jobs in the past 12 months (compared with 21% in 2009),35% of this group had been laid off, compared with 23%reporting being laid off in 2009. Yet optimism abounds, asonly 14% consider their jobs to be under threat because of the economy, down considerably from 22% in 2009.“There is more solid confidence in the economy,” saysKaren Bloom, principal at BGA. “People are feeling lesspanicked and that’s good. Because people are feeling moreconfident, we’ll see more movement in the marketplace.”But for those on the market, last year tested their patienceand professional networks. Catherine Topping, an SAE atLandis Communications, was laid off from CarmichaelLynch Spong (CLS) in February 2009.“This summer was slow, so I joined a networking groupand that led to several informational interviews,” she recalls.“By fall, these turned into real job interviews.” This focused networking ultimately led Topping to hercurrent position. But she says without being keyed intonew opportunities this way, her job search would havebeen more daunting.
The new
30
 / 
prweekus.com
 / 
March
2010
As the industry fights back from a toughyear, it is adjusting to a difficult, butimproving, job market, according to the2010
PRWeek 
 /Bloom, Gross & AssociatesSalary Survey.
Aarti Shah reports
 
March
2010
 / 
prweekus.com
 / 
31
Doug Spong, a principal at CLS, says 2009 was theagency’s first down year in its 20-year history, resultingin layoffs at all experience levels. He says business hasrebounded, but the industry isn’t in the clear yet.“I’ve been through at least three fairly steep recessionsin my career and I think this one was different,” Spongsays. “I don’t see this one running back. Client spendingis crawling back on its hands and knees.”
Salaries reset
PR professionals have also lowered their salary expecta-tions. Only 18% describe themselves as “very aggressive”in negotiating salary, compared with 23% in 2009.“People don’t always feel very strong negotiating forsalary the longer a recession goes on,” says Bloom. “Thereality of the situation settles in and people become alittle more complacent.”But this hasn’t tempered ambition, as 70% say they  want to attain a high professional rank over the courseof their career.
53
%
say their salaryis equal to or lessthan it was a yearago, well up fromthe 27% whosaid so in 2009
SALARY CHANGES
What is the difference between this year’s salaryand last year’s salary?
0102030405060
Base: 1,007 
 WORK PRESSURE
To what extent do you agree with the statement, “I feel undermore pressure to perform at work than I did 12 months ago”?
010203040
Base: 1,007 
Number of peopletaking the survey
1,007
Gender
33% male; 67% female
Work setting
46% work for a PR agency;25% in a corporate PRdepartment; 8% for anonprofit; 4% in education;4% self-employed/freelance;3% government; 2% tradeassociation
Age
The median age ofrespondents was 37, withthe largest percentageof respondents in the26-30 bracket
Ethnicity
84% white/Caucasian;5% black; 5% Asian;4% Hispanic; 2% other
Education
In undergraduate degrees,PR (34%); journalism (18%);and liberal arts (12%) were themost popular majors. Of therespondents, 30% have mas-ter’s degrees, 11% of whichare in PR or communications
Experience
Respondents have an averageof 11.3 years of experience
Work-life balance
Respondents work an averageof 49.1 hours per week andget 17.3 days vacation per year
“Salaries have not come back,” says Jim Delulio, presidentof PR Talent. “They are not going to rebound as quickly.In some cases, they’re going to be down 10%.” The median salary overall for respondents was $82,000, aslight decrease from last year’s median salary of $86,000.Among those surveyed, 53% say their salaries are equalto or less than they were a year ago, a staggering jump fromthe 27% who said so in 2009. Still, 27% expect no raise intheir next review, while more than 30% expect the bump tobe less than 4%. In 2008, only 9% didn’t expect a raise.“There’s been a fundamental reset in salaries and I’m notsure when that’s going to return to pre-crisis levels,” says asenior-level communications professional at a
Fortune 
10company who asked not to be named. This was, in part, fueled by pay cuts and deferred raisesthat became standard last year. Michael Kempner, CEOof MWW Group, says that while his agency was “more judicious” with raises, they didn’t stop altogether.“You should not be penalized for being loyal,” he says.“You shouldn’t have to leave to get a raise.”
Zeroor less$1 to$4,000$4,001to $8,000$8,001 to$12,000$12,001 to$19,999More than$20,000(7)Stronglyagree(6)(5)(4)(3)(2) (1)Do notagree
The respondents

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