As marketers think about the new decade, they could be forgiven for wondering if they are starting 2010 at a lower point than they began the Noughties. Certainly the ten-year trend in salaries suggests that, apart from a handful of roles, there has been little real progress in income terms.

For manager-level marketers and below, average salaries have barely kept pace with inflation. It is only when you get to director level that the supposed growth of the last decade starts to be reflected in typical salaries, with marketing directors reporting an average of £61,600 in 2001 and £78,500 in 2010. (The apparently soaraway incomes for marketing services directors should be treated with care since sample sizes are small.)

At the start of the Noughties, the impact of the Enron and Worldcom scandals along with the overvaluing of dotcom businesses caused economic contraction around the world. Even worse was to follow in September 2001 with the terrorist attacks on New York. It was not until late 2004 that growth really returned and was sustained for a four-year period. Most of that has since been rolled back.

What is striking, however, is the way in which the top 10% of earners have pulled away from their peer group across all main job titles. Marketing managers are a prime example of this polarisation. Those in the top 10% of earners in this year’s survey are taking home twice as much (£84,600) as the average (£42,000). Among brand managers, this spread is even greater – the top 10% earn an average of £83,300, while the overall mean is £40,500. This trend reaches its height with communications managers, where the upmost 10% average £87,000 against a mean of £40,300.

The same effect can be seen among marketing services managers (£85,000 at the top, £43,100 on average) and online marketing managers (£87,500 for the top 10%, £40,900 on average). The extreme spread between the highest paid marketing services executives (£90,000) and the average for that job title (£26,800) and the similar range for online marketing executives (£85,000 for the top 10%, £28,500 overall) is down to a handful of individuals commanding an income way above the usual for their job title.

“Clients want age and experience of digital channels and are surprised at not being able to find candidates “

Conversely, at director level, marketers’ salaries have become more homogenised. The overall average for marketing directors is £78,500, while the top 10% of earners average £100,600. Similarly, among marketing services directors, the average salary is £74,000 and the top 10% get £102,900. For communications directors, the average is £74,900 and the upper band mean is £96,100. In other words, the differential at the top for directors is only about a third more in income terms.

When the previous decade started, some of the job titles that now feature in the salary survey simply did not exist. Online marketing was in its infancy, yet 7% of responses now come from these roles. Similarly, direct marketing and CRM, although well established back in 2001, did not feature in the survey.

This rapid expansion of new marketing categories is leading to problems with recruitment, as one mid-career marketing professional – who does not wish to be named – notes. He says: “There are lots of references in briefs to ‘digital natives’ wanted at senior level. Clients want age and experience of these channels and are surprised at not being able to find candidates.”


What is undoubtedly keeping the lid on pay demands is the combination of budget cutbacks with restructuring. When more than six out of ten marketing departments have shed staff, leaving a surplus of skilled professionals competing for available posts, employers have spotted an opportunity to trim recruitment costs.

“Companies are not stupid. They have realised it has moved from a buyer’s to a seller’s market and they are able to pick and choose the people they want,” says Simon Carter, marketing director at Fujitsu’s UK government division.

Carter left Thomas Cook in the first half of 2009 for his current position. In between, he considered four different roles. “The salaries being offered were all 20% lower than what I had left,” he says. This continues a trend noted in last year’s survey when companies were holding out for the right calibre candidate at their chosen price, rather than fighting to fill vacant posts.

In the past, marketers not being offered the right pay rise by their current company knew they could boost their income by moving on. With the whole economy depressed and limited competition for talent, that option no longer seems available to them.

Banking on staying put

Job mobility has been so high in the marketing industry as to become virtually a cliché. Ten years ago, nearly six out of ten marketers intended to move on within a year and that rate of change continued for most of the decade. It has taken the most serious of economic conditions to shift the picture so that the majority (55%) expect to remain where they are, at least for 12 months.

Not surprisingly, the less senior the position, the more likely an imminent job change becomes. Online marketing executives have the itchiest of feet, with two-thirds planning to move in 2010. Just over half of marketing services executives also plan to enter the job market this year.


Key stats

Average salaries for marketing directors£78,500
Average salaries for marketing directors have risen to £78,500 in 2010 from £61,600 in 2001. Other job titles have seen less of an increase – for marketing managers, salaries in 2010 are £42,000 on average against a 2001 mean of £38,100.

Entry level salaries£25,500
Entry level salaries have stayed relatively flat across the decade. An assistant brand manager now receives an average of £25,500, up from £21,100 ten years ago, while a graduate trainee marketing assistant (GTMA) now starts on £20,600, up from £17,300 in 2001.

The top 10% £84,600
The top 10% of manager-level marketers are earning twice the average at a mean salary of £84,600. Brand managers make £83,300, marketing services managers receive £85,000, a communications manager earns £87,000 and an online marketing manager gets £87,500.

The pay gap by gender £17,000
The pay gap by genderamong marketing directors is a massive £17,000. Women continue to suffer pay discrimination. Female marketing managers earn £38,500 on average, compared to £48,200 for men.

Salaries for those working for the biggest spenders £73,800
Salary does not necessarily correlate with the size of marketing budget, except among online marketing managers. Those working for the biggest spenders earn £73,800 on average, compared to £32,800 at the lowest-spending advertisers.

American ownership £ v $
American ownership contributes a sizeable salary premium for marketing services directors and online marketing managers, but does not make a significant difference to other job titles.

Biggest reported pay rise during 2009 4.28%
Pay rises during 2009 were modest all round. The biggest reported rise on average was for DM and CRM insight managers at 4.28%, while GTMAs got the lowest increase at 1.31%. Most marketers expect even less of a pay rise in 2010.

Percentage enjoying a contributory pension 61%
Pension contributions are the most commonly-enjoyed benefit (61%), while just over half (52%) of marketers get private medical insurance. Bonuses are only enjoyed by one third of marketers.

Number expected to leave their jobs 42%
Job mobility among marketers is still high, with 42% expecting to leave their current post during 2010. But this is significantly down from the 58% intending to move on within 12 months in 2001.

Number planning job change to increase pay 27%
The main reason for changing jobs is financial remuneration (27%), although this is closely followed by the desire for a new challenge (26%). The most appealing sectors to move to are considered to be marketing consultancy (33%) or travel and leisure (30%).