Charity comms pay outside London ‘so low it is becoming unaffordable to work’

Low pay is blighting charity communication roles outside of London with many taking jobs remote jobs to achieve “a decent salary”, a survey has revealed.

The survey found that pay rates “can vary greatly depending on location, with London continuing to dominate the higher end of the scale”.

One communications manager at a medium sized charity based in the capital said: “The pay drops dramatically outside of London, despite there being expensive cities to work in that aren't London, which means remote jobs are often the best option for a decent salary."

The survey found that across the country more than a fifth (22 per cent) of charity communication professionals are working from home full time.

While more than two thirds (67%) of all charity communicators say they are happy in their role and 72% feel overall positively about their work/life balance, almost all those working from home (85%) say they miss the social aspects of working in person.

Another communications officer, working at a large Midlands based charity warned that poor pay is contributing to a lack of diversity in the charity comms sector. “The sector outside of London pays charity comms jobs as so low it is becoming unaffordable to work in this sector, breeding even less diversity than already exists,” they said.

The survey, carried out by Charity Comms and Charity People, also found that charity communicators feel their role is less valued than it was the previous year. While 42% believe that others feel that communications is more valued in 2022, this is a drop from 53% in 2021.

This is despite communicators working beyond their contracted hours, due to stretched resources in 62% of cases.

“As the cost-of-living crisis continues, charities need to understand that they need to pay staff fairly, or risk losing them to the private sector,” said the digital manager of a large London charity, who was among those interviewed by researchers.

“We work in our sector because we want to make a difference, but if we can’t afford our basic living expenses the sector will lose us.”

The average salary for charity communicators rose by just 1.2%, from £38,909 in 2021 to 39,390 last year. In January 2022 think tank Pro Bono Economics predicted that charity staff wages would need to rise by more than 9% by 2024 to keep up with inflation.

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