- Public relations firms are facing a hiring crunch as demand for their services ramps up.
- Some firms are responding with higher pay, extra vacation, and flexible work schedules.
- One firm, MikeWorldWide, is offering up to $10,000 bonuses for referring top hires.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Public relations agencies are dangling new perks and benefits to attract and keep employees as they face a hiring crunch.
They range from the traditional (like stipends for home office supplies) to the unconventional — for example, financial communications firm Prosek Partners just sent its New York team on a boat cruise.
Brian Phifer, founder and CEO of recruiting firm Phifer & Company, attributed the labor shortage to an increased demand in PR services and more hiring as the Biden Administration brings stability to corporate America along with people leaving the industry.
“The demand [for talent] is massive,” Phifer said. “Candidates and agencies know this and they [the agencies] must do this in order to land top talent.”
“The marketing service industry has never seen a labor market this hot and if agencies are not willing to adjust to the desires and needs of the marketplace, they won’t make great hires,” said Bret Werner, president of PR firm MikeWorldWide.
Phifer said he’s seeing agencies increase salary and compensation offers by about 20-25% on average to attract hires.
Beyond higher pay, agencies are also offering increased referral bonuses, work schedule flexibility, and other benefits. Here’s a rundown of perks recently introduced by Weber Shandwick, Real Chemistry, MikeWorldWide, and Havas-owned Red Havas.
Weber Shandwick, the second biggest PR agency, is letting employees work three days a week in the office.
Weber Shandwick also increased its referral bonus; employees receive $2,500 for successfully referring junior hires and $5,000 for mid-senior hires.
Other new perks include six months of free access to health and sleep app Aura and half-off online yoga classes, and discounts on meal kits and other services.
There’s also a one-time allowance of $250 for home-office needs, as well as a $60 monthly reimbursement that employees can use for a broad range of pursuits, like fitness classes and cultural events.
Real Chemistry (formerly known as W2O Group) recently started offering a $500 reimbursement for wellness services like gym memberships, fitness equipment, and
The firm introduced a flexible work schedule and PTO policy, sabbaticals for employees who have worked there for at least five years, and expanded infertility, surrogacy, and adoption benefits.
For those returning to the office, it provides coaching sessions to employees and their managers to ease the transition.
Other new perks include $500 a year towards staffs’ student loan payments and $500 for remote work equipment and supplies. Employees and their families also got memberships to Modern Health, which provides coaching and therapy sessions and the like.
Red Havas recently gave employees two additional summer vacation days a month. It also introduced an annual $3,000 benefit for training or education.
Employees can also work at any Havas office for two weeks once a year. Employees have to be in the office two or three days a week, and can start the workday at 10 a.m. on Mondays.
Employees also can get a $7,500 bonus if someone they referred to the agency is hired and an additional bonus for bringing in a new account, depending on the size and contract of the account.
There’s also free access to relaxation and
MikeWorldWide increased referral bonuses to $5,000 for referring a successful senior account executive and below; $10,000 for referring someone at the account supervisor/account director level; and $15,000 for VP referrals and above. Previously, the bonus was a flat $1,000 across the board.