You may be up for a promotion, a merit increase, or perhaps you interviewed (and landed) a new gig and it’s come time to talk numbers. Discussing and negotiating a PR salary can be an exhausting, daunting, and intimidating process for some PR professionals, but it's important to not let the fear of the process overshadow the salary you (and your role) deserves.
According to a PR Week survey, nearly 40% of PR professionals do not feel “well compensated” in their roles. Based on those numbers, it’s time to flip the script. There are natural inflection points that should be considered as opportune times to ask for that raise you desire, like:
Nervous, anxious, or downright terrified of how to go about asking for your desired PR salary? Here are tips to get you prepared and properly compensated.
It seems simple enough, but researching is more than a straight up Google search about PR salaries. Be sure to factor in your market (e.g. the cost of living where the job is based and where you live), the job title, and finally, check review sites to see how other salaries within the company or agency rank. Side note: sites like Glassdoor, etc. may not be wholly accurate, so only use those sites as a point of reference. A better way to determine appropriate pay is to poll your own network.
After doing your research, be realistic about your ask. If you go too low, you may not get what you deserve, and if you shoot too high, you may seem impractical. Nail down a range (usually a low to high difference of about $20K) and then think of all the reasons why that number is appropriate to ask for. Consider accomplishments in your job history, responsibilities in the new role, and the market. Which brings us to our next point…
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If you were promoted/hired/given more responsibilities, it was for a reason and it was likely because of your past performance. Be sure to tout your accomplishments and give specifics about times you being on the team was critical. Did you help land a new client? Save an existing one? Achieve some serious media credo? Highlight those instances as times you were critical to a company’s success.
It may not always be the exact right time, but there are certainly times of the year and budget cycle that are most salary-friendly (and not). Avoid times when business may be slow or a big client or deal was lost, and instead strike when budget and salary conversations are already happening. Annual merit discussions, performance reviews, and reorganizations are all great times to consider speaking up.
Your manager or HR contact may not always be prepared to have a salary discussion or you may be met with a “no” or “not right now”—at least initially. Every manager and HR rep knows an employee’s talent is worth his or her weight in gold, so it’s okay to push a bit when met with resistance. Always be sure to do it in a respectful manner and pull back if you see frustration. Sometimes, the budget really may be frozen, unavailable, or the timing might be off. In those instances, always ask for a next step of when the time MAY truly be right to pursue these conversations.
Not all compensation needs to be money-focused. There are obvious perks to having a flexible work environment and schedule, gym or other health benefits, or the ability to gain extra training or attend industry events. If you can’t get money added to your bottom line salary, consider some of the ways you can offset your own personal financial costs with company-provided benefits. Also, you can always propose a bonus plan that ties you (and compensation) to specific, measurable goals. Since that dollar amount can vary based on a lot of factors, be sure you land on a number you are truly comfortable with for a base salary. Then, the rest will just be icing on the cake.
Whenever it comes time to have a financial conversation, it can be scary. As you find yourself preparing for these conversations, the steps above will put you in the best position to not only have a productive salary conversation (and show your worth), but also give you the confidence and poise to ask for what you deserve.
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