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Are PR Practitioners making what they should?

So The Equal Pay Coalition is calling today womens’“Now You’re Working For Free” Day. As of September 17, 2008 is 71% complete, and since women on average make 71 cents on every dollar men make, Canada’s career women will be working below their full earning power from now until New Years Day.

Considering the leaves are only just starting to change colour and we have a long fall ahead of us, it drives the point home.

It also has me considering if public relations practitioners are making as much as we should.

We’re all familiar with the struggle to have the C-level lend the same weight to public relations as it does to advertising and marketing. And we’ve all pulled our hair out over executives who believe hard results are the only results.

But it’s also been argued that public relations, possibly because of the soft skills involved, is seen as a women’s profession. And, as The Equal Pay Coalition points out, women’s professions have been traditionally undervalued and underpaid.

If this is the case, just how underpaid are PR professionals? And what is there to be done about it?

The rise of the social media may just be public relations’ financial saving grace.

Unlike traditional PR campaigns, social media campaigns DO offer measureable, hard results. Clients and the C-level can now be presented with numbers for web hits, links, RSS feed subscriptions and responses. Combine that with soft results and what you have is solid proof of a PR campaign’s success.

Will we soon see a rise in PR’s credibility-and rising salaries to match?

I can only hope so. I don’t like the feeling that I’m working for free from now until January 1.