The facts of life

As the decade of the Noughties takes hold, we asked you to tell us about your life in 2001. Some findings of this third MW lifestyle survey in 12 years were expected, such as the inequality of pay between the sexes. others were surprising – yo

As marketers you know a lot about the lifestyle of that mythical “average British household”. You know what television programmes they watch, what they buy at the supermarket, what car they drive, and where they’re going on holiday. But what about yourselves? It’s time to put marketers under the microscope again, to find out just what makes you tick.

This is the third Marketing Week study (the first time was in 1989, and the second in 1995): and comparing the results with the two previous surveys makes for some fascinating reading.

Drug use among marketers has risen alarmingly since the first Marketers’ Lifestyle survey, 12 years ago. We asked people what recreational drugs they and their colleagues had taken within the past 12 months, and the figures were shocking.

Of the nearly 1,400 marketers who responded, 17.2 per cent admitted they had used marijuana in the past year, nearly three times as many as in 1989, when it was just six per cent. Cocaine use has also rocketed, up from three per cent in both 1989 and 1995 to 9.1 per cent today. The use of amphetamines has fallen in the past six years, down from 7.5 per cent to 3.4 per cent. Twelve years ago, only one per cent of our survey sample admitted to using them.

The survey also confirms the fact that women marketers are being paid far less than their male counterparts. Four in ten of the marketers in our sample earn between &£25,000 and &£50,000 a year, and they are pretty evenly balanced between the sexes. But at the ends of the salary spectrum the inequalities begin to make themselves plain.

The lowest paid workers in our survey earn between &£15,000 and &£20,000, and account for 16.5 per cent of respondents. Analyse that figure by sex, and it shows that only 9.1 per cent of male marketers are on the lowest rung of the salary ladder, while 21.2 per cent of female marketers are. Similarly, 18.2 per cent of men earn between &£20,000 and &£25,000, but 26.7 per cent of women fall into this bracket.

At the top end of the scale, 92 male respondents (17.1 per cent of the men who answered the survey) earn between &£50,000 and &£75,000 compared with 65 women (7.8 per cent of the female sample). The higher the salary scale, the more exaggerated the differences are.

But there is some good news for female marketers – their male colleagues are no longer quite as given to harassing them at work as they used to be. The percentage of our survey claiming to have been sexually harassed by a work colleague within the past 12 months has plummeted to 5.7 per cent, compared with 18 per cent in 1989 and 17 per cent in 1995.

The majority of sexual harassment still comes from members of the opposite sex – in 2001, 6.2 per cent of women said they had been the target of inappropriate behaviour from men and 2.2 per cent of men said they had been harassed by women. In 1989, 38 per cent of women and nine per cent of men said they had been sexually harassed, and in 1995 the respective figures were 32 per cent and eight per cent.

Only 0.6 per cent of men who answered our survey this year said they had been harassed by other men, and only 0.2 per cent of the women said they had been targeted by other women. One in 20 (5.1 per cent) of this year’s survey respondents has received stress counselling in the past 12 months, while 14.2 per cent say they know colleagues who have.

Just over half the respondents say they either suffer from tension (28.8 per cent), are overweight (24.3 per cent), have insomnia (17.7 per cent), have high blood pressure (5.7 per cent) or heart problems (1.3 per cent) or some combination of these. One in three (34.1 per cent) of those who report health problems blame them on their high-pressure jobs. The percentage of respondents reporting such health problems is similar to the last survey’s figure – but in 1995, twice as many blamed work for their health problems.

So how has the working week changed for UK marketers? In 2001 the majority of marketers – 82.3 per cent – work a five day week, 6.1 per cent work six days and 0.8 per cent work seven days. On the other hand, 6.4 per cent work four days a week and one per cent work three days a week. We also asked how many days a week they spend working from home: 15.5 per cent say they work one day a week at home, and 4.2 per cent two days a week.

In 1995, 67 per cent of the survey sample spent five days a week working in the office, five per cent six days and one per cent seven days.

Eight in ten of respondents live within 30 miles of their workplace, compared with two-thirds who lived within 25 miles of work in 1995. Six years ago, 63 per cent of marketers sampled spent up to an hour commuting every day – in 2001, 81.6 per cent of marketers commute for an hour or less.

Nine out of ten marketers have a car, which is a company car for one-third of drivers. Just to prove that marketers are human after all, 100 per cent of the drivers in our survey would rather be behind the wheel of a different car. The most popular marques people are driving are Ford and VW, with 165 respondents each (although one confused person claimed to be driving a Ford Beetle). Next in popularity were Peugeots (118), BMWs (74) and Audis (65).

When asked which car they would rather be driving, there was no contest. The winner was Audi, with 95 respondents wanting to be behind the wheel of a TT alone. In total, 194 people voted for an Audi as their car of choice. VW came in second place with 161 votes. Another 23 would like to be driving a VW Beetle, though it’s unclear whether they want a new one or a classic one.

Heavy drinking, it seems, is no longer fashionable within the marketing industry. Compared with 1995, marketers are drinking far less than they were. One in five of the 2001 respondents (21.3 per cent) do not drink at all, more than double the level in 1995, while 69.3 per cent drink between one and five units of alcohol a day and 5.5 per cent drink six to ten units. The number of marketers smoking has fallen to 21 per cent from 24.5 per cent in 1995 and 31 per cent in 1989 and there are very few heavy smokers (those smoking more than 20 cigarettes a day).

Male marketers are more likely to have voted Conservative in 1997 (35.4 per cent as opposed to 26.4 per cent of women). While men are more likely again to vote Conservative this time around (the survey was conducted before the election was called), support has fallen to 29.8 per cent (23 per cent among women). Few marketers admitted to not voting in 1997, and very few said they wouldn’t be voting this time around.

Less than a third (27.4 per cent) of marketers practise any religion, and the majority of those who do are Christian of one denomination or another. The biggest single doctrine is Church of England (120 out of 388), followed by Catholicism (100) and then plain Christian (75). Thirty-four respondents practised other Christian faiths – Baptists, German Lutherans, Presbyterians, Evangelicals, Orthodox (three different sorts), Methodist, Unitarianism, Protestant and Non-Conformist Welsh.

The biggest non-Christian religion followed by survey respondents is the Jewish faith (13), followed by Hinduism (11), Islam (six) and Sikhism (four). Other religions include Buddhism, Spiritualism, Taoism and Wicca (that’s white witchcraft, not basket weaving) – oh, and we had one Sadist.

We also had 14 respondents who claimed their religion was either Jedi or Jedi Knight, a hangover from the Census campaign to get enough people to declare it as their faith so that it will be accepted as a recognised religion.

Marketers have been fairly constant in their sexual habits over the past 12 years. In 2001, one in 20 (4.5 per cent) claim to make love every day and more than one-third (35.7 per cent) say they do it several times a week. In 1989, only one per cent of respondents claimed to have sex every day, and 36 per cent “two or three times a week”. Six years ago the figures were two per cent every day and 39 per cent several times a week.

Celibacy jumped in the time between the first and second surveys. Six per cent of people said they never had sex in 1989, ten per cent in 1995, perhaps because of the growing awareness of the risk of AIDS. If that was true, it seems to be true no longer, as the number of respondents never having sex has fallen back to 7.6 per cent. Interestingly, a significantly higher percentage of the latest sample refused to answer this question: 8.2 per cent, compared with two per cent six years ago.

It was the sex-related questions in particular which led to a complaint from one irate Marketing Week reader. What right did we have to ask the marketing industry to tell us such intimate details of their lives? Good question. What right do we have to ask you to divulge your personal problems, your drug habits, your desires (when it comes to cars, at least)? About as much right as the marketing industry has to ask ordinary consumers the same sort of questions.

Working hard to play hard

Mike Garnham exposes the shocking, the sedentary and just plain strange parts of life as a marketer

Why exactly is reality television so successful? Big Brother, Survivor, Surviving The Iron Age are prime time viewing. It’s probably fair to say that most of us like a good old snoop at other people’s lives and then sit back and gloat at bad habits and sundry misfortunes.

So it is interesting to stir up the marketing goldfish bowl occasionally and see what floats to the top. And don’t worry, the findings apply to everyone else, not us.

According to the survey, we seem to put an awful lot of pressure on ourselves. Many work long hours, suffer from stress, tension, high blood pressure and insomnia, yet a considerable number of us find the time to indulge in recreational drugs.

Some of us are doing quite nicely on the salary stakes. However, as in all groups, some appear to be more equal than others, and those who are most equal of all are older men. This will not come as a bombshell, but it was good to see there are some very high earning young women.

The universal desire to drive a car other than the one we have applies to both sexes. While it appears that German cars are ubiquitous it is slightly surprising that male marketers impose upon themselves a glass ceiling. Most want Audi TTs. Whatever happened to the big engined BMWs, Mercedes and Porsches longed for in yester years? Women would most often opt for a Golf, but then we know where most common sense lies.

And while many have swapped the acceptable drugs of booze and fags for the illegal and exotic, we seem to draw the line at fine wine. This is a very popular leisure interest along with foreign travel, films, music, dining out and theatre. All you need is the right airline and a due degree of confusion at check-in and you can have the lot in one go.

We also like sport, DIY and reading. There would seem to be no correlation or harm in this. We are also a very well balanced lot when it comes to religion, those of us who believe in it anyway. Most beliefs are represented. However, it might be interesting to incorporate the Jedi Knights, the sadist and the followers of witchcraft into the same department and see what kind of strategic planning emerges.

On a final and more serious note, it is good to see we take our chosen career paths more seriously. We believe the stature of marketing has risen in the past five years and that it is a more important issue at board level. Long may this trend continue.

Mike Garnham is managing director of Headcount Worldwide Field Marketing

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