European Corporate Affairs Remuneration Report

January 2018 – Following hot on the heels of our European Association Remuneration study, this new report is dedicated to the thousands of people who work in EU corporate affairs functions, in Brussels and around Europe. 

From its offices in Brussels, Ellwood Atfield specialises in the recruitment of EU corporate affairs staff with public affairs, communications or regulatory functions.

Companies from 6 continents of the world are represented to the EU institutions but of the 2,145 companies actively lobbying the EU, only 585 have offices in or around Brussels.  According to Ellwood Atfield research these 585 companies originate from 38 countries and employ around 2,500 staff in key EU corporate affairs functions.

Ellwood Atfield has been operating in Brussels for more than 10 years placing many candidates in public affairs, communication and association leadership positions.  Through regular contacts with clients and candidates we have amassed considerable data on compensation packages in Brussels, across sectors and seniority levels.  The core of this salary report is based on an in-depth survey we completed in 2018 of over 300 corporate affairs staff.  We looked across all industry sectors from agribusiness to transportation.


In particular the report focusses on compensation and benefits for the following levels:

  • Global Heads of Corporate Affairs
  • Heads of EMEA Corporate Affairs
  • Heads of EU Corporate Affairs
  • Directors of Corporate Affairs
  • Senior Managers, Corporate Affairs
  • Managers, Corporate Affairs

Download the report

Please provide your details below.

Survey findings

Overall the laws of supply and demand have a key part to play in the relatively high salaries in Brussels.  The general rule is you earn more money if your talents are scarce, and demand for EU corporate affairs staff has grown considerably over the last decade as consultancies, associations and corporate offices have expanded in number and size.  The key finding of our previous remuneration analysis was that salaries in Brussels vary enormously, not just between sectors but between organizations in the same sector.

Our new research shows:

  • US companies pay on average 20% more than German companies, 16% more than UK companies but only 5% more than Swiss companies.
  • Pharmaceutical and technology companies pay some of the best salaries in Brussels.
  • Remuneration analysis of over 100 Heads of EU Affairs revealed that €147,800 is the average basic salary for men, while for women the average salary is €124,100.  This is in-keeping with the EU-28 average gender pay gap, with female Heads of EU Affairs being paid, on average, 16% less than men at this level.
  • On top of their annual salary Heads of EU Affairs typically earn an annual 18%-20% cash bonus, but one in four earn above 25% annual cash bonus, and some take 40% or more. Only half are eligible for Long Term Incentives, with most earning an additional 20-30% of their salary as stock options or grants.  Also the majority of Heads of EU Affairs receive the following benefits; company pension plan, private healthcare plan, car lease, petrol card, and meal vouchers (Cheque repas).  Other typical benefits include representation allowances and Eco vouchers, and quite a few get free gym memberships.
  • Gender differences are also expressed in who holds the top jobs.  For the most senior positions (Global, EMEA and EU Corporate Affairs Heads), men occupy around 70% of the roles.
  • The majority of Global Heads of Corporate Affairs based in the EU earn less than €250,000 as a base gross annual salary, but some earn substantially over €350,000, particularly where they report directly to the CEO in high paying sectors and financially successful companies.
  • Salaries for EMEA Heads are understandably lower than Global Heads with around one-third earning €140,000 – €170,000 as an annual base salary, around a quarter earning €170,000 – €220,000, and another quarter earning more than €220,000.


Image by Ye Pingfan/Xinhua News Agency/PA Images. The European Commission Building in Brussels in May 2017.

Report Launch

Thursday 1st of February saw the launch event for the European Corporate Affairs Remuneration Report. Held at The Auditorium on the Avenue des Arts in Brussels, we were delighted to welcome professionals from throughout the world of corporate affairs alongside members of the Ellwood Atfield team.

Our upcoming events will always be announced here, check back for future dates.

Would you like to advance your career or appoint someone?