How much do IR professionals earn?

Sep 22, 2015
<p>A look at how seniority, region, cap size and gender affect IR salaries and bonuses</p>

Globally, the average salary for a head of IR is between $200,000 and $249,999 a year, according to the IR Magazine Global Investor Relations Practice Report 2014.

This number jumped a pay bracket between 2013 and 2014, though the research shows that around a quarter of IR heads still take home between $150,000 and $199,999, while 28 percent receive more than $250,000 a year. And it’s not just the average take-home salary that increased for IR heads: 95 percent of them also take home a bonus averaging 35 percent of base salary.

For IROs, the global average salary remains static at between $100,000 and $149,999 – now two pay brackets below those leading the department. Thirty percent of IROs are paid more than $150,000 a year, though this is notably lower than the 41 percent in this pay bracket in 2013. And when it comes to bonuses, both the number of IROs receiving a bonus ‒ 84 percent ‒ and the amount they take home ‒ 24 percent of base salary ‒ are slightly down on 2013’s figures.

Region has had a consistently significant impact on IR salaries, with North American IR professionals typically taking home the highest salaries and Asian counterparts receiving the lowest across the study – and this remains true in the 2014 study at both the top of the department and for IROs.

IR salary by region
Source: IR Magazine Global Investor Relations Practice Report 2014. Click for a larger image

Also seen in previous years, opportunities to earn a higher salary again increase as market cap climbs. At mega-cap companies, the average salary for a head of IR is $200,000-$249,999. And while there are examples of mega-cap IR heads earning various salaries, only at these firms does a head of IR have the potential to take home an annual salary of more than $500,000, with 8 percent of IR heads receiving such high pay in 2014. At the other end of the scale, at the IRO or IR manager level, the average salary at small caps has actually dropped one pay bracket to $75,000-$99,999.

Unfortunately, gender also plays its part in what an IR professional earns. In 2012 IR Magazine reported divisions in IR salaries across gender lines: 75 percent of male heads of IR earned more than $150,000, compared with 68 percent of female heads. At the same time, around a quarter of male IR heads enjoyed a base salary of more than $250,000 per year, nearly double the 13 percent of female IR heads achieving that pay level.

At the IRO level, almost two thirds of male IROs were paid more than $100,000 per year in 2012, compared with just over a third of females. A male IRO was nearly four times more likely to earn in excess of $150,000 than his female counterpart.

While still not equal, those gaps had narrowed by 2014. The average salary for a male IR head ($200,000-$249,999, in line with the global average) is still higher than that of a woman in the same position ($150,000-$199,999) but women are no longer as far behind: 23 percent of women at this level earn a salary equivalent to the global average, just 2 percentage points behind their male counterparts. And while 29 percent of male IROs earn more than $250,000 a year, a close-run 26 percent of females also take home this level of remuneration.

The latest version of the IR Magazine Global Investor Relations Practice Report will be released in Q4.

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