Which Firms Pay the Big(gest) Bucks?


This week the always-excellent Holmes Report published its annual World Report tracking the globe’s top PR firms by income and other metrics. It’s a very useful rankings source that you’ve probably already seen.

Interestingly, some firms provide both income totals and staffing numbers while others choose to be more…discrete.

As an amusing (and definitely not even close to 100% accurate) thought experiment, we scrolled through the list and did a little quick division to see which firms have the most reported income per reported employee.

As imprecise as this math may be, we still find the ratios fascinating.

Total “fee income” divided by total staff:

  • Levick: $266,816
  • Peppercomm: $229,052
  • MWW: $221,290
  • Waggener Edstrom: $188,172
  • APCO Worldwide: $182,895
  • Havas PR: $174,166
  • Gibbs & Soell: $173,000
  • PadillaCRT: $168,403
  • Finn Partners: $154,703
  • 5W PR: $152,566
  • Edelman: $146,034
  • We Are Social: $85,949
  • Walker Sands: $88,636
  • Blue Focus (China): $77,428

In order to calculate average salary at these firms, one would need to account for a multitude of unreported expense factors, etc. that would certainly cut the numbers significantly. (Common sense and a quick glance at the Edelman Glassdoor salary page confirm this.)

Still, we would love some input, even if it’s anonymous: how closely do these totals relate to real-world compensation? How accurate can the numbers be, especially in an industry prone to turnover and poaching?