Investor relations officers are in demand and being well paid

Canadian firms are using their IROs in more strategic roles according to new research

Investor relations officers are in demand and being well paid
Steve Randall

Canadian companies are leveraging the value of investor relations officers (IROs) and paying them well as a result.

New research from the Canadian Investor Relations Institute (CIRI) and Global Governance Advisors (GGA) shows that IROs are becoming more involved in strategic planning including plan execution.

Three-quarters (74%) of IROs work for companies with separate IR departments and 88% report to C-suite executives (this has increased from 79% in 2019).

As a sign of their growing influence, 55% of IROs engage with investors on ESG/sustainability; 50% write or edit the company’s ESG/sustainability report; and 28% develop the company’s ESG/sustainability strategy.

Over half of IROs are earning at least $225,000 in cash compensation with 28% earning more than $300,000. Most also received long-term incentive awards.

Yvette Lokker, president and chief executive officer of CIRI says that the changes to Canadian capital markets, the economy, and the environment, have been partly driven by the pandemic with compensation reflecting their importance.

“These factors have contributed to IROs being recognized by boards and executives for the strategic value and insights they provide thereby elevating the stature of the role, which is reflected in higher compensation,” she said.

Gender pay gap

However, the survey shows work is still required on the gender pay gap.

On average, male IROs received total cash compensation of $246,000 while female IROs earned $206,000, a $40K pay gap, which has only decreased $5,000 from 2019.