What are the best cities for communicators to maximize their earning potential?

PR is enjoying a growth spurt, and industry salaries prove it. Some cities are seeing bigger dividends than others.

It’s good to be in PR, especially if you’re at the top of the pyramid.

According to a study by PR Underground, demand for PR professionals has increased 58 percent since 1999, with salaries growing in accordance to demand. Yet, not all paychecks are created equal.

PR is increasingly good if you’re at the top, but the gap between the industry’s highest and lowest earners has widened. The average salary for a PR manager reaches $123,360 per year for those in management positions compared to $66,540 per year for PR specialists (defined as non-managing positions).

Managers’ wages were just 40 percent higher than PR specialists’ in 2000, but the difference ballooned to nearly 90 percent last year. At the same time, the lowest 25th percentile of salary for PR specialists has dipped since 2008, while every pay range above that has increased modestly, adjusted for inflation.

The study also showed that salaries differed substantially by geography. The number of PR pros hired in Washington, D.C. and Maryland increased 325 percent and 257 percent, respectively, compared to just 58 percent nationally since the turn of the century.

Washington, D.C. professionals are getting paid in accordance with the demand, with specialists earning about 45 percent more than the national average and managers raking in about 33 percent more.

If you’re a PR specialist and you can see an ocean from your office, you’re likely getting paid a lot more than your mid-American counterparts. Five of the 10 cities with the highest salaries are on the California coast, while the others all call the Atlantic coast home.

Adjusted for living expenses, however, Providence, R.I., Sacramento, Calif., and Detroit, Mich., offered the top-paying salaries for specialists:

The areas in which pay was lowest, compared to the local living wage, were Oakland, Calif., Oklahoma City, Okla., and Portland, Ore.

For PR managers, New York and New Jersey, Washington, D.C., and the Bay Area were (predictably) top-paying areas, with Durham-Chapel Hill, N.C., Providence-Warwick, R.I.-Mass., and the Dallas area in Texas making the top three, adjusted for living expenses:

The worst areas for PR managers, adjusted for cost of living were Honolulu, Hawaii, Portland, Ore. and Tucson, Ariz.

Do you live in a great city for PR? Share your story in the comments.

Read the full report here.

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Topics: PR

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