PR work benefitsGood pay and benefits are great, but there are other reasons why PR people like their jobs, a new survey reveals.

When asked “What are the most satisfying aspects of your job?” PR pros most frequently answered challenging work (56%), organizational mission/integrity (50%), and freedom to pursue new ideas/projects (48%), according to Ragan’s 2020 Salary and Workplace Culture Survey.

Other satisfying facets of jobs included a collegial work environment, wonderful bosses, and workplace location.

Most PR pros (82%) agreed that the most important employer attribute is organizational mission/integrity. Other top employer attributes include diversity and inclusion, and strong corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs.

The results confirm the value of a strong company reputation and a defined corporate mission combined with CSR programs. Previous surveys have found that employees in general and especially younger workers prefer to work for socially responsible organizations. They also prefer to purchase products from and invest in companies with socially responsible reputations.

PR Salaries and Benefits

More than half of PR pros reported salary increases of 1 to 3 percent within the past year. Almost a quarter received raises of 4 to 7 percent. Men reported an average base salary of $102,359 and women, $94,319.

Benefits are also an important factor. Almost all organizations provide medical insurance and vacation time. Most also offer dental and vision insurance and sick time. Such traditional benefits are now required to retain qualified personnel.

Many organizations offer other kinds of benefits. Two-thirds pay for professional development or conferences, and two-thirds allow work-from-home arrangements. Only 55% permit flexible work hours. although 62% offer free coffee and tea.

Despite some areas needing improvement, most PR pros feel satisfied with their jobs overall, the survey shows.

However, Arik Hanson, principal of ACH Communications, said employers are doing little to attract and retain top employees. A lack of widespread professional development is particularly disconcerting.

A Lack of Professional Development, Telecommuting Opportunities

“I’m constantly AMAZED in talking to friends and colleagues that companies refuse to pay for PRSA, IABC and MIMA memberships,” Hanson writes in his blog. In addition, most PR firms are unwilling to fund trips to professional development conferences.

“It’s time to start taking professional development seriously. It’s not a “nice to have”–it’s a MUST HAVE,” he says. “This data is reinforcing what we already knew.”

It’s also perplexing why more companies don’t allow employees to work from home.  While telecommuting may not be for everyone, research indicates that telecommuters are happier, healthier and more productive.

With work from home, employers benefit from more productive workers and can reduce office space and real estate costs. Although the benefit is easy to provide, many companies can’t adapt to the new telecommuting culture, Hanson says. They may not trust their employees to work efficiently or effectively from home.

Telecommuting Continues to Spread

While not a universal work benefit, telecommuting continues to become more common as organizations learn how to better manage telecommuters. The practice will likely increase significantly this year due to coronavirus fears.

Work-at-home arrangements, not counting the self-employed, increased 173% since 2005, 11% faster than the rest of the workforce and nearly 47 times faster than the self-employed population, according to Global Workplace Analytics.

In addition, the number of PR pros with flexible work arrangements has increased over time, according to a PRWeek/Bloom, Gross & Associates survey released last year.

Bottom Line: While PR pros want flexible work arrangements and other “soft” benefits, a recent survey finds that their employers have room to improve. More companies can allow telecommuting and fund professional development, benefits that would help both the companies and their PR employees.