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Learning and earning linked for first time by CIPR State of Profession survey

A commitment to qualifications and professional development is reflected in remuneration especially in the early years of a public relations career.

The 2017 CIPR State of the Profession survey published today highlights the benefit of education and learning in public relations.

You have to look hard but if you do, you’ll find evidence that practitioners committed to qualifications and learning and development earn more.

Professional qualifications include marketing and public relations foundation and post graduate courses awarded by the CIPR, CIM, PRCA or other relevant awarding bodies.

The difference is most acute at the outset of a career (£5,388); reducing mid-career (£1,968) before a moderate reverse (-£706) at senior levels.

Junior-level

Intern/Trainee, Assistant/Executive, Officer
Average salary = £29,964
Average salary for those with professional qualifications = £32,565.
Average salary for those without professional qualifications = £27,176.
Difference = £5,388 in favour of those with professional qualifications

Mid-level and Junior Level combined

Manager, Intern/Trainee, Assistant/Executive, Officer
Average salary = £37,180
Average salary for those with professional qualifications = £38,158
Average salary for those without professional qualifications = £36,190
Difference = £1,968 in favour of those with professional qualifications

All respondents

Head of Comms/Associate Director, Director/Partner/MD/Owner
Average salary = £50,446
Average salary for those with professional qualifications = £50,091
Average salary for those without professional qualifications = £50,797
Difference = £706 in favour of those without professional qualifications

Koray Camgoz, who led the analysis of the data on behalf of the CIPR and helped me crunch the data, suggested that the results reflect the relatively immaturity of the profession.

Senior people are likely to enter the profession via a multiple of routes, whereas formal training and qualifications are more common among younger and mid-career practitioners.

March to professional standards

Jon White often talks about how public relations is still relatively young as a profession. It’s one way of explaining the data from the State of the Profession survey.

It’s the first time that the State of the Profession survey has been able to make a clear connection between education, learning and earning potential. The profession appears to be at the early stages of recognising the value of qualifications.

“Education creates stronger earning potential and provides professional credibility,” said Sarah Hall, President-Elect, CIPR.

The salary gap is small, and is overshadowed by the gender pay gap (£5,784 after regression analysis), but nonetheless the data tells a clear story.

It would be an unremarkable story in any other business but until recently the profession had limited regard for qualifications and continuous professional development (CPD).

The slow march to professional standards corresponds with the CIPR’s own membership data. It has reported year-on-year increases in CPD development to more than 2,000 people per year, over the last five years.

Similarly there have been significant increases in the number of Chartered Public Relations practitioners since the status was modernised in 2015, from 50 to 168.

Work in progress

But let’s not start celebrating too early.

Less than three percent of the UK’s 62,000 practitioners demonstrate a commitment to learning through a credentialing system such as the CIPR’s Accredited Practitioner or PRCA CPD schemes.

“There is no longer any excuse not to professionalise; the Global Alliance’s Global Capabilities Framework offers a clear career path and the CIPR offers a raft of courses designed to help people upskill,” added Hall.

It will be interesting to track this data in the coming years. A clear link between education, training and remuneration is a compelling value proposition for the CIPR.

About State of the Profession

Now in its eighth year, the State of the Profession is the public relations industry’s established authority on statistics, issues and trends impacting public relations. This year’s survey gathered the views of 1,578 professionals.

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Stephen Waddington

Partner and Chief Engagement Officer, Ketchum and Visiting Professor in Practice, Newcastle University.

2 Comments

  1. It would be interesting to know how the development, uptake and wider awareness raising of the CIPR’s Chartered Practitioner status affects those same salary results i.e. how much is the badge of professionalism worth, as opposed to a formal qualification.

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