The range of communications salaries in Brussels

One might imagine that some of the best communications salaries are to be found in London, where more money is spent on PR than any other city in the world. Indeed, the UK PR industry has done a remarkable job of weathering the recession, according to the benchmarking survey conducted by PRWeek and the PRCA. The research showed that the average UK PR professional is paid almost £50,000 which is nearly twice the average salary for the UK workforce as a whole. In-house communication directors earn on average around £83,000.

However, some of the best paid communications positions in the world are to be found in Brussels. As a headhunter, I have recruited senior communicators on packages of €500,000 and interviewed candidates who earn in excess of €700,000. I also recently authored various Ellwood Atfield reports on Brussels salaries which described some of the high salary bands for senior practitioners here. Read the European Association Remuneration Report 2017. Read about the range of salaries in Brussels.

Overall the best paid jobs in Brussels go to lobbyists rather than pure media or public relations professionals. In fact, I believe that lobbyists on a global level must be the best paid of all the communication disciplines, even ahead of investor relations.

Our report showed that running consultancies and trade associations offer some of the most lucrative jobs. We found that salaries of an ’Associate Director’ at a Brussels consulting firm range from €70,000 to €120,000, while Managing Directors of larger firms often earn in excess of €200,000. Salaries of trade association Director Generals range considerably but packages between €200,000 and €400,000 are not unusual. The highest earners of all are the in-house corporate lobbyists, who work closely with the CEO and C-Suite. I recently worked with one such lobbyist with an annual compensation of €450,000 and a ‘golden handcuff’ of over €1 million in shares.

Overall, European consultancy salaries are considerably higher than those found in the general Belgian economy, reflecting the premium paid for European affairs positions, which attract high calibre staff from around the European Union.

The table below gives a summary of Ellwood Atfield salary information for consultancies in the Brussels marketplace. There is a surprising degree of variation.

Title Years experience Typical base salary bands
Intern <1      < €23,000
Junior <8       €17,400 – €60,000
Mid-Manager 3 – 20       €37,000 – €50,000
Senior Manager 5 – 20       €45,000 – €191,000
Top Management 7 – 30       €80,000 – €265,000
The Top Person Typically 15+       €150,000 – €450,000

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