Who pays more – agency or in-house?

23 Feb 2018

There are clearly major differences between agency and in-house roles, and pros and cons attached to each. The questions often asked are: Where do you make more money? Where do you get better bonuses and company benefits? Where are the best career opportunities?

Knowing how important it is for employers to have access to the most up-to-date salary, bonus and company benefits information, we examined these key benchmarking areas in our recent Salary Guide 2017/18.

We frequently hear that in-house communications teams pay better salaries. However, our survey findings show that the difference appears to be marginal when you compare levels of experience. Agencies tend to have more layers in their career path, so in order to get a fairer and clearer picture of salary differences, we looked at the number of years’ experience a professional has in the industry.

An in-house Corporate Communications Manager’s average annual salary is £55k; the role with an equivalent amount of experience in a corporate agency is a Senior Account Director whose average salary is £65k (both averaging 8 years of experience). In this case, agency professionals are better paid. However, what tends to happen is that we will source a corporate Account Director (with an average of 7 years of experience) into a Communications Manager role, with an average annual salary of £54k. Therefore, the difference in average annual salaries here is just £1k. Our survey found that differences in average salaries for in-house and their agency equivalents, factoring in the average years of experience, are marginal.

Having said this, it does change at the top where Global/Head of Corporate Communications and Financial Communications’ basic salary ranges are more generous in-house, and the bonuses are better in places too compared to agencies. While the salary ranges at this senior level in-house are bigger, the average salaries are similar to those of agencies.

The distinction between in-house and agency salaries is therefore blurring, with less clear-cut differences at every level and in every sector. Salary may therefore become less of a factor for PR and communications professionals deciding whether to make the move to an agency or in-house in 2018.

To access the full results of our Salary Guide 2017/18, please follow this link –

Do you feel as though you should be earning more? If you require advice on your current salary, bonus and benefits package, or if you want to take the next step in your career, do get in touch on 0207 903 9290.

Salary Survey 2017 - 2018