Corporate Investor Relations Officers See Continued Compensation Gains According to the 2016 Biennial NIRI and Korn Ferry Survey

SAN DIEGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Based on new findings from the National Investor Relations Institute (NIRI) and Korn Ferry, the strategic nature of the Investor Relations Officer (IRO) role within publicly traded companies continues to grow and drive increased compensation packages. The new research is from a biennial study of corporate IROs (including Fortune 500 IROs*) on trends in IR profession compensation, benefits and related practices.

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Key survey findings:

Salaries – The latest survey data shows continued increases in average base salaries of corporate IROs in each study year since 2010.

  • Average base salaries rose for the third consecutive survey year to $202,000 from $188,000 in 2014, an increase of more than seven percent.
  • Median base salary of all respondents was $200,000, an increase of more than eight percent from $185,000 in 2014.
  • Since 2014, the inflation adjusted increase to median salary is eight percent.
  • The median base salary of Fortune 500 IROs was $214,000 compared with $194,000 for non-Fortune 500 IROs.

Cash Bonuses – The 2016 survey data also reflects sustained improvement in bonuses received.

  • A large majority (85 percent) of all respondents reported receiving a cash bonus in 2015.
  • Average cash bonus was $77,000 compared with $69,000 in 2014.
  • Median cash bonus was $58,000 compared with $50,000 in 2014.
  • For Fortune 500 IROs, average cash bonus received was $90,000 compared with $68,000 for non-Fortune 500 IROs.

Stock Bonuses – This survey included a new data point regarding the value of stock bonuses.

  • Sixty-three percent received a stock bonus.
  • The average cash value of stock bonuses was $111,000; the median was $69,000.
  • For Fortune 500 IROs, average cash value of stock bonuses was $121,000 compared with $103,000 for non-Fortune 500 IROs.

“The compensation trends from this study reflect the importance of the investor relations function within companies. This is truly a strategic management function requiring a high level of business acumen in a wide variety of disciplines including finance, communications, marketing and securities law. Corporate IROs enable effective two-way communications between a company, the financial community, and other key constituencies, ultimately contributing to a company's securities achieving fair valuation,” said James M. Cudahy, President and Chief Executive Officer of NIRI.

“In this increasingly disruptive and activist environment, where companies need to redefine themselves to the marketplace and investment community, we see the IRO role continuing to grow in importance to the C-Suite,” said Richard S. Marshall, Global Managing Director, Corporate Affairs and IR, at Korn Ferry. “Whether their background is rooted in finance, IR, or as an analyst, the most important role the IRO can serve today is to counsel and assist management in refining, or shifting the corporate and investment narrative, in a way that has credibility with The Street, and that requires a broader and more diverse set of skills.”

(*”Fortune 500 IROs” are IR professionals in a Fortune 500 company.)

Methodology – About the Study

The NIRI - Korn Ferry Corporate IR Profession and Compensation Study collected corporate investor relations position data from February through April 2016. The response rate of NIRI members was 40 percent.

About the National Investor Relations Institute (NIRI)

Founded in 1969, NIRI ( is the professional association of corporate officers and investor relations consultants responsible for communication among corporate management, shareholders, securities analysts and other financial community constituents. NIRI is the largest professional investor relations association in the world with more than 3,300 members representing over 1,600 publicly held companies and $9 trillion in stock market capitalization.

About Korn Ferry

Korn Ferry is the preeminent global people and organizational advisory firm. We help leaders, organizations, and societies succeed by releasing the full power and potential of people. Our nearly 7,000 colleagues deliver services through our Executive Search, Hay Group and Futurestep divisions. Visit for more information.

Korn Ferry
Tracy Kurschner, 612-309-3957
National Investor Relations Institute
Matt Brusch, 703-562-7679

Source: National Investor Relations Institute (NIRI) and Korn Ferry