Salary survey reveals pay and benefits of Asia Pacific comms and PA industry

Middle and senior level corporate communications and public affairs practitioners in Asia Pacific are earning average salaries exceeding US$141,000 before bonus payments, according to a new survey released today.

This is the central finding of the PublicAffairsAsia/Prospect 2012 Salary Survey, which also finds that three in four professionals believe they are paid less than their equivalents in the West. The highest regional salaries and bonuses were recorded in Australia, followed by Hong Kong and Singapore, the survey found.

In an eight page report released today, the PublicAffairsAsia network and Prospect, the specialist talent resource consultancy, examine the salary, benefits, training and bonus payments of middle and senior professionals working in corporate communications, public relations and corporate affairs.

The report also challenges the common view that agency salaries are lower than in-house roles, with the gap between the two sectors closing at the mid-point in people’s career (10-15 years) with senior agency staff going on to earn higher average salaries beyond that point. Agency staff also recorded a higher number of training days each year, scoring five days as opposed to an average of 3.5 days in the in-house sector.

The key findings of the survey, conducted among 356 professionals, in Asia Pacific were:

  • FINDING THEIR JOB: One in four respondees found their current role through a friend or colleague. Similar number through a recruiter. One in five were approached directly by their employer.
  • REGIONAL AVERAGES: The average salary before tax was US$141,332. The result after local income tax was US$107,624.
  • BONUS CULTURE: Some 247 out of 263 respondents declaring a salary receive a bonus with the average being US$29,839.
  • RELATIVE RENUMERATION: 45% of respondents thought they were paid the same as others in similar roles in the region, while 45% thought they were paid less and 10% saying they were paid more.
  • CONTINENTAL PAY-GAP: 73% thought they were paid less than those in Europe or North America, with 18% saying the same and 9% more.

Commenting on the findings, Prospect Managing Director, Emma Dale, said: “This is the first time we have partnered with PublicAffairsAsia to do this survey, and it is much needed. It benchmarks salaries for mid-level and senior practitioners for the first time and it shows a thriving market, but one where the vast majority of respondents believe they are being paid less than their colleagues in the West.

“The survey is revealing about the merits of working in-house and for agencies. Agencies are a great place to build your career: evidenced by higher training levels, for example. But the survey also shows that agencies are a good place to continue your career, even if there is a salary shortfall. In salary terms you will perform well if you stay in the sector long-term or move from an in-house to an agency role.”

Craig Hoy, Executive Director of PublicAffairsAsia, added: “This survey begins to benchmark the salaries and benefits of the industry in Asia Pacific. In some instances salaries varied widely among similarly titled groups, but the trends are clear and we will monitor these annually through this innovative new survey research.”

The full report on the survey can be downloaded from

About the Survey:

The survey was conducted via online completion during the period March 20 to June 5, 2012. There were 356 interviews submitted by the end of active data collection. Participants were drawn from Asia-Pacific and comprised a broad cross-spectrum of communications, public affairs and corporate affairs practitioners. By the nature of both the PublicAffairsAsia network and the Prospect subscriber and client base, participants were generally in middle and senior tier roles, with lower penetration into entry-level and more junior groups. This factor should be considered when examining salary averages. The findings of the survey were first presented to a group of senior in-house and consultancy figures at a roundtable held in Hong Kong, which has informed the narrative of the report.

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