Client directors the best paid digital practitioners, says nma salary survey

Digital practitioners at director level on client-side are the highest paid in the digital industry, commanding average salaries of £100-110,000, according to new media age’s first digital industry salary survey.


The survey of more than 2,000 digital professionals across four categories – client/brand, agency, media owner and service provider – found that the top echelon of client-side staff are commanding salaries with the median range at director level of £100-110,000.

The survey is published this week in the launch issue of Digital Professional, which from September will be a monthly supplement to new media age dedicated to training, skills and careers in the digital sector.

Overall, the nma Salary Survey supports the commonly held belief the digital industry is predominantly young, with the majority of respondents (57%) 26-35 years old. More than 60% of respondents were at manager level or higher, and most have been in their current jobs for less than four years.

Just under 60% expect to remain in their current position over the next year, reflecting a general strength in retaining staff. Of those expecting to change roles, just 4% said they intended to leave the digital industry.

Unsurprisingly, brands offer the highest salaries for digital practitioners. Graduates can expect pay between £20,000 and £25,000. According to the survey, there’s a significant jump from manager to department head, rising from an average of £35-40,000 to £60-£70,000. One of the most common roles, head of ecommerce, typically earns £70-80,000, while a head of digital, client-side, can expect between £60,000 and £70,000. The average marketing managers’ salary was £35-40,000.

At agencies, entry-level salaries went as high as £40,000 but were typically £16-20,000. Executives earned a little higher at £20-25,000, while those advancing to managers typically commanded £35-40,000, and directors an average of £70-80,000, reaping the benefits of developing a career on the agency side. Head of search was the most common agency role at department head level, earning an average of £70-80,000. Creative directors typically receive between £50,000 and £60,000, while account managers find their remuneration averages £30-35,000.

On the media owner side, entry-level salaries averaged £20-25,000. Senior executive level staff typically command between £40,000 and £45,000, while department heads experience a significant jump on this, averaging £60-70,000. One of the most common roles among media owners, sales director, generally earned £60-70,000. Digital producer roles, cited as sought-after, command an average of £35-40,000.

At service providers, incorporating ad networks, affiliate networks, analytics providers and email, mobile and search agencies, despite the level of specialist knowledge required, median salaries were relatively low, with entry-level employees getting £16-20,000. Managers reported typical earnings of between £35,000 to £40,000 and directors £60-70,000.

The survey also underlined that greater focus on data, effectiveness and ROI is driving changes in the skills required across all categories.

For service providers, demand for data-driven analysts is growing rapidly, while for media owners, the emergence of mobile channels is impacting developer requirements. The survey found that roles around audience insight and research were also increasing. At agencies, good information architecture and user-experience practitioners were in demand, the survey found.

Although the shift towards data is driving a skills gap, candidates possessing the right mix of client handling, data analysis and business acumen aren’t leveraging salaries up as much as expected. Agencies like Essence and Equi-Media are opting to take on graduates, providing the right training and recruitment.

With brands becoming media owners or taking marketing services in-house, job roles like analyst, email marketer, digital producer, in-house designer and senior project manager are at their most diverse, underlining the broader range of skills required.

The survey also found the gender split across the digital industry is a 60:40 ratio of men to women. This was more even at client/brands and service providers but more marked the further along employees are in their careers. At director level, there’s an 80:20 male/female split. At agencies, the gender split is generally around 60:40 men to women but shifts to 90:10 at director level.

This story first appeared on New Media Age. For more digital stories and analysis from NMA click here now

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here