Salary Survey 2014: The most stressed marketers

The marketing department may be seen as one of the more fun teams to work in, yet while marketers get to be creative with ideas, they are still feeling stressed, with a high proportion – 61 per cent – saying they are either overwhelmed or under pressure.

Vital statistics

  • Sports marketers are the most stressed, with nearly three quarters (74.4 per cent) saying they are either overwhelmed by their jobs or under pressure.
  • Sports marketers are also the lowest paid out of any client side marketers, being paid an average £35,577 compared with the industry average of £45,021.
  • However, salary and stress levels vary, with those in the automotive industry among the highest paid – although a large proportion say they feel under pressure (67.7 per cent).
  • Those under the least amount of stress are marketers in the utilities industry, with 47 per cent either overwhelmed or under pressure.

This may be due to having fewer people in teams coupled with the multiplicity of channels that need to be catered for, according to Pilkington.

“Marketing departments have got smaller but they haven’t done any less. Plus there are more ways to talk to consumers, so you end up not letting anything drop off the priority list with fewer people.

“I don’t think many businesses are good at deciding what they’re not going to do,” says Louise Pilkington, a former LVMH marketing director who now runs her own luxury brand consultancy.

O2’s head of customer strategy and development Jonathan Earle says: “There’s no doubt companies are asking their people to do a lot more with a lot less – fewer resources, fewer people, less budget – and the expectations are higher.

“Nobody dies because of what we do. Yes, we could all work 24 hours a day but having a balance to your job, seeing your family or just getting away from it, is essential.”

Broadening marketing roles

Stress can be caused by the growing role of the marketer, says Libby Chambers, chief marketing officer of law firm Freshfields.

“The difference today is that as the economy recovers so channels continue to diversify, which means the pressure builds on marketing to support new initiatives while doing the normal day job at the same time.”

On top of diversifying media channels, many UK marketers at least have had their roles broadened to cover Western Europe rather than just Britain. Multinationals have also been putting resources into fast-growing Far East economies, says Brian Walmsley, chief marketing officer at parenting company Bounty.

“Nobody dies because of what we do. Yes, we could all work 24 hours a day but having a balance to your job, seeing your family or just getting away from it, is essential”

Jonathan Earle, O2

“I work in China a lot and there’s a different atmosphere with a growing economy compared to one that’s stagnating. If you’re running a multinational corporation you’re more likely to invest in overseas economies.”

Sport industry under pressure

The sports industry is the most stressed, with nearly three quarters of marketers (74.4 per cent) saying they are under pressure or overwhelmed.

To add insult to injury, sports marketers across the board are the lowest paid out of any client side marketers. Last year, marketers working in the sports sector were paid an average £35,577 compared with the industry average of £45,021.

Marketing directors in the sector are also the lowest paid of any senior marketers, being paid £63,750 compared with an average £86,165.

This may be due to there being fewer opportunities, such as the Olympic Games, for brands, with marketers tightening up on budgets, according to Andrew Croker, a sports industry veteran and chairman of cycling marketing agency Shift Active Media.

Last year saw Vodafone pull out of its Formula One sponsorship, while Npower dropped its association with the Football League.

“Selling sponsorship has never been more difficult with such oversupply in the market,” says Croker.

Other marketers feeling the strain

Home entertainment marketers are the second most highly stressed group. Seventy one per cent of those in the market for CDs and DVDs say they are feeling overwhelmed or pressurised, due to the closure of high street stores such as Blockbuster, while services such as Netflix are muscling in.

Sam Andrews, editor of home entertainment business website Cue Entertainment, says: “Marketing departments are stuck between a rock and a hard place. They’ve had their budgets and their headcounts cut while trying to beat last year’s sales figures.

“Because home entertainment is a mature business, Hollywood studios have slashed their marketing departments. On top of this, the declining DVD business means there are fewer places that you can actually sell DVDs – which means that Sky TV is winning the battle. It’s a vicious circle.”


Marketing salaries by sector, region and job title
The gender gap in marketing salaries
Board level marketers 
The knowledge gap

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