Is There Money in PR?

When I was beginning to explore public relations as a career, one of my parents worries for me was whether or not this would be a lucrative path for me to go down.  I can’t deny I had the same fears, especially since I was plagued with champagne taste (even on a college student’s beer budget).  Not to mention I was determined to live in Manhattan, quite arguably the most expensive place for a person to live in the United States.

Admittedly, in the beginning, it’s not an easy start in public relations.  While friends of mine were talking near six figure contracts in their early 20’s at financial firms, I was budgeting out my month to be sure I could afford attending a friend’s birthday party.  Not a super-fun place to be in.

As you move forward you realize there are plenty of opportunities to make serious dough in your PR career.  And not just in your salary. Our people pay off the passionate, so if you successfully bring in more talent, score a great new client or even have a desire to go to grad school there may be opportunities to bring in some bank.  Here’s a quick break down for you:


  • Account Executive – $52K – $59K
  • Senior Account Executive – $62K – $70K
  • Account Supervisor – $77K – $80K
  • Vice President – $114K – $117K
  • Senior Vice President $136K – $138K
  • Executive Vice President – $161K – $173K

The above is just a guideline for salary, but it’s a pretty good one.  Salary depends on the size of your agency and the type of clients you’re working with.  Smaller boutique firms usually pay under average, but they come with great perks.  Bigger agencies with bigger  clients may be able to pay more.  But guess that your starting salary as a Junior Account Executive or Assistant Account Executive will be around $36K. Interns are usually paid an hourly wage, or with college credit.


Finder’s Fee – Pretty much your nice “thank you” from your company if you bring in a new team member that stays on for at least 6 months.  Many companies offer this perk so they don’t have to pay recruiters. Average is about $2,000

New Client Cut – If you have a great new business lead and bring it to your company and you win the business, many PR firms offer a percentage of the total contract amount to the person who brought in the business. Ca-ching!

Basic Bonus – Not all PR firms have Christmas or Holiday bonuses, but many offer a little bump in pay for a month if you work extra hours over the weekend or extraordinarily hard with a special client project

Grad School Grant – Some companies have amazing programs for their employees who are interested in attending grad school while working. Check with HR if there is an opportunity within your company

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