Every year, along with lots of others, I complete the CIPR’s State of the Profession survey, and eagerly – honestly – look forward to seeing the results. A lot of work goes into its preparation (I know, I helped out when a Group Chair) and into producing meaningful interpretations of the data. It’s an important piece of work.
This year there’s good news in that salaries are on the rise, and public relations is being seen more as a strategic function. But there’s also worrying news; the diversity gap, the gender pay gap and the rise of mental health issues.
Show me the money
There are a few concerns for me though, and not just on a personal level.
The average salary for someone in the 45 to 54 age bracket is £67,425 (I wish). The average salary for Chartered Practitioners is £66,526 (I wish). The average salary for someone with 13 to 16 years of experience is £55,773 (I wish). The average salary in Yorkshire & Humberside† is £42,645 (I wish). The average salary for people with ‘Officer’ as their role – Senior (Communications) Officer, in my case – is £31,232. I wish…
Either I’m being spectacularly underpaid (um…) or there’s a fundamental problem with the survey. Intuitively, those figures are far higher than I’d expect most of the people I know to be on, even with years of experience and some management responsibilities.
If I’ve totalled up the pie charts slices correctly, 61% of respondents have at least nine years’ experience. Over 70% of respondents are Managers, Heads of or Director-types. So to my mind, the survey isn’t being completed by the right people; the ‘right people’ being those relatively new to the profession, not the high earners with years of experience.
Surveys, elections and referenda all depend on high turnout for their legitimacy, and I think that for the survey to have more meaning those fractions need inverting. The only way we can do that is by getting more people to complete the survey each year. And that is something we should all be pushing, whether a Director-type, Head of, Manager/SAM, or a mere officer or AE. The more people that take part, the more accurate it will be and the better our understanding of the actual state of our profession will become.
Heck, we (meaning the CIPR) could even offer 5 CPD points to people who complete it…