The global economic slowdown impacted PR practitioners across the world, and it wasn’t any different in the UAE. While a number of big PR agencies held their own, the smaller ones started to look out for other growth areas whereas those professionals who’d lost their jobs pondered on what to do for a living.
That was a time when PR companies reported a downturn in business, with hiring freezes and clients cutting on their communication programmes.
Companies also cut their in-house PR budget, making some employees redundant while in some other cases, employees took a pay cut.
“The industry went through a lot. Many people were out of work.
Businesses were ‘taking a break’ from using PR agencies on the pretext that they were doing their own work. I also lost my job and started working as a freelancer but early last year, I got a good job and in the span of 12 months, many new offers have come along,” said a PR professional in Dubai on the condition of anonymity.
The once-battered PR is definitely back on its feet and 2012 saw creation of new jobs and pay hikes as businesses came back to agencies looking for exposure.
And, this year is expected to be better, so believe headhunters in the country.
“There has been a substantial increase in public relations openings both on the client and public relations agency side,” Jack Khabbaz, Senior Consultant for Sales & Marketing at Charterhouse Partnership, told Emirates 24|7.
The growth has been strikingly visible in certain sectors. “Increase has been evident amongst industries including aviation, automobile, holding groups, government, hospitality & travel, retail, consumer electronics & IT,” he added.
The growth momentum is expected to continue in 2013 as well. “This year, we are already seeing an increase in demand across transportation, consumer goods, hospitality & travel as well on the agency side,” he said.
“There will be continued increase in demand in investing in public relations to build upon the momentum of the positive sentiment in 2012,” added Khabbaz.
“From 2011 to 2012, PR Jobs posted on our website increased by 47 per cent clearly showing that the demand on professionals in this industry is higher than it was in 2011. With over 270 jobs in the field of marketing and PR currently advertised on the site, the prospects for the year 2013 are very high,” said Suhail Masri, VP Sales at Bayt.com.
On pay hikes, professionals in this industry received a hike of approximately 5 per cent, as per Charterhouse estimates, and many headhunters have reported that candidates are once again negotiating salaries at the time of the job interview.
Within an agency, a PR professional’s starting salary (that of an account executive) is Dh14,000 and an employees has the potential to earn up to Dh50,000 in the capacity of a Managing Director. Morgan McKinley puts the salary at a higher level. As per them, a MD can earn Dh100,000.
Salaries for positions in PR (basic salary in Dh per month)
Account Executive Dh14,000
Account Manager Dh18,000
Account Director Dh25,000
Associate Director Dh30,000
General Manager Dh40,000
Regional Director Dh45,000
Managing Director Dh50,000
Corporate Comms Executive Dh17,000
Corporate Comms Manager Dh25,000
PR Manager Dh25,000
Source: Charterhouse Partnership
Account Executive Dh15,000
Account Manager Dh23,000
Account Director Dh35,000
Associate Director Dh45,000
General Manager Dh75,000
Regional Director Dh85,000-100,000
Managing Director Dh100,000
Corporate Comms Executive Dh12,000-15,000
Corporate Comms Manager Dh25,000-40,000
PR Manager Dh30,000-45,000
Source: Morgan McKinley
PR Agency Roles
Account Executive: Dh13,500
Account Manager: Dh23,000
Account Director: Dh38,000
Associate Director: Dh30,000
General Manager: Dh55,000
Managing Director: Dh75,000
Regional Director: Dh80,000
PR In-House Roles
Corporate Comms Manager: Dh27,000
Corporate Comms Executive: Dh15,000
PR Manager: Dh23,000
PR Director: Dh40,000