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PR Account Directors – Is it a mistake to move in-house now?

10 Nov 2016 by Miriam Hanna.

Believe it or not at Account Director level, the hard truth of the matter is you're better off moving to another agency if you want more money and better bonuses. Why?

Attractive salary

Agencies have wider pay bands and a better understanding of your market worth compared to in-house PR teams. There is also quite a common misconception we come across that in-house pays better. You can uplift your salary by an average of 20% on a move to another agency. If you're a corporate Senior Account Director with financial services expertise your market worth is between £45k and £70k, and financial PR Account Directors are paid between £50k and £80k. It comes down to supply and demand. Another agency is likely to give you a healthy uplift as your level is in demand right now.  There are far fewer in-house Comms Manager roles on the market and competition is fierce, particularly in London.

Options, options, options

Unlike in-house roles, you will be in a position to select as there are plenty of roles with great agencies to consider.  The current market shows your level is in demand right now and we are confident that we can get you three, well matched, exciting interviews – no problem. It's all about supply and demand and if you're good at what you do, then now is a prime time to look at agencies that want to get people in place before Christmas

Professional development

Perhaps you want better flexibility, a company with values which you buy into and want to feel invested in again with fast track management training? Or you want FTSE clients to advise or just a clearer career path - it's all there for the taking. Agency life is renowned for having a greater variety and breadth to work across sectors and different clients, and developing niche specialisms as you work on different accounts. In-house by comparison can be slower and of course you represent one brand instead of many.

Faster progression

If you want to be a credible Communications Director one day, business acumen is required and there is no better place to hone these commercial skills in an agency as you are a 'profit centre', compared to a common view of being a 'cost centre' in- house.  If you want a CEO to respect your advice and give you a seat at the board table, being business savvy is paramount and these skills are developed at Account Director upwards. Stay agency, keep learning and keep moving forward.

The Works Search specialise in placing board to mid-level PR and communications talent in leading PR agencies and in-house organisations across London, on both an executive search and contingency basis. For our latest roles visit our jobs page, or to discuss your career in confidence contact us on 0207 559 6690 – we would love to hear from you.

Salary Survey 2016