Market imperatives

It's an attractive area of fashion retail in which to work, but marketing and PR teams still place a premium on those with exceptional skills and experience.

Marketing and PR is a critical area for fashion retailers, with the team staking responsibility for creating the voice of their brands. Relatively well-paid by retail standards, PR and marketing directors are commanding an average salary of more than £66,000 and close to £100,000 at the top end. Meanwhile, PR and marketing managers can earn an average of more than £42,000.

But its high-profile nature means it is an area that attracts a lot of candidates, with pay sometimes less of a priority if it is a particularly sought-after fashion brand or retailer, according to Diana Moreno-Gomez, senior consultant for marketing, digital and creative at Fashion &Retail Personnel. "For them salary is not as important as the role and the product," she says.

Liam Connelly, vice-president, international human resources and corporate social responsibility at Timberland, agrees: "In our experience, the company, its values and ethics are increasingly important in the minds of consumers, employees and candidates," he says.

Sarah Hawkins, a former marketing and PR director for lingerie retailer La Senza, now runs her own marketing and PR consultancy Flapjack. She says marketing and PR within fashion is still one of the best places to be: "There is still a cache, and for variety and pace, marketing and PR is one of the best divisions to work in." However, Hawkins warns competition for roles can be fierce, so candidates have to ensure they have relevant experience.

Another important dynamic of marketing and PR teams is staff promotion tends to be difficult without those at the top leaving their roles. As there is less chance to move departments, personnel changes are likely to occur by staff either being poached or becoming bored in their roles and leaving. "They are more traditional types of positions and they tend to be smaller teams so there is a lot less flexibility than in ecommerce or multichannel. In PR and marketing everything is pretty much there, so unless people leave there is nowhere for candidates to go," says Moreno-Gomez.

One head of HR said this can cause problems: "We have people that have been in the business a number of years in the marketing and PR department and the downside is how do you keep people motivated?" She says retailers have to think laterally as to other roles that may be relevant, and so her business has widened staff's responsibility in this sector into online too.

Hawkins says the increasing desire for staff to have traditional and online marketing and PR skills is pushing up prices of the best staff, because there aren't as many marketing candidates with online skills. "Everyone wants staff with online experience, which makes that area very challenging and sometimes you have to pay over the odds for that," she says. She adds that small teams mean having the best people is key: "There are a lot of people in the market but not a lot of great people. However, stagnation in such roles can be prevented. "If you have a budget and are creative then you can do a lot without having to leave the business. It's about trying to make people's jobs interesting," concludes Hawkins.