PR agency acts against cost of living

From April 1 technical and STEM PR agency Stone Junction has raised the salary of everyone in the company by £1,000 per annum, to counter the UK cost-of-living crisis.

The increase took effect on April 1, coinciding with the National Insurance increase of 1.25 per cent, which will cost a Stone Junction team member on the agency’s mean salary £360 per year.

In addition, Ofgem has announced a 54 per cent increase to the energy price cap, which will cost a typical household on a default tariff, £693. Food and drink prices have also increased, as have public transport costs and fuel.

The move is part of a project Stone Junction launched in 2015, called 23K by 2023, which will see the starting salary of an entry level job at the agency increase from £16K to £23K. Holiday has increased from 20 to 23 days, plus bank holidays, as part of the same scheme.

The most recent increase will take the starting salary of an account executive to £21,000 p/a, with another £500 p/a increase scheduled for August 2022.

Each time the entry level salary increases, the salary of every member of the team increases apace. As a result, the most recent increase alone is expected to cost £35,000 to 40,000 in year one and approximately £400,000 over five years. 

The 2015 to 2023 budget for the 23K by 2023 project was £338,000. The projected five-year cost of the project is £3.15M, accounting for team growth, representing around 9.5 per cent of projected revenue.

“We have brought forward some of our planned increases to coincide with a time when life will become much more expensive for our team,” explained Richard Stone, managing director of Stone Junction. “We will push ahead with the others and expect to conclude the project by June next year.

“The leadership team and I are really happy to do this. We don’t think it makes us saints, and we don’t think it’s the right move for every business.

“However, it would have been nice to say we’ve done this in a better economic environment. The UK has suffered from a decade of austerity, global economic uncertainty and political upheaval, leaving real wage growth stagnant.

“In February The Food Foundation reported that a million people said they, or someone in their household, went for an entire day without eating because they could not afford or access food.

“Raising the salaries of some middle-class PR people probably won’t make any difference to that statistic. But we want to influence the things we can.

“We are, like most people, 100 per cent behind raising national insurance to fund the NHS. Many of us would happily pay more.

“But the rationale behind the increase in public transport, energy and food costs feels like a fiction, when the balance sheets of the businesses in question are included as part of the equation.”

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