Culture, not pay, motivates marketers to move jobs

New research shows workplace culture and opportunities for training are key to attracting, and keeping, the best marketing talent.

Career ladder

Marketing professionals are craving a more positive career experience with a focus on workplace culture, training and a work/life balance that doesn’t stifle their ambition.

According to research by Hays of 13,000 employees across sectors such as engineering, education and law, 87% of marketers consider themselves ambitious, higher than the UK average of 78%. Almost half (44%) aspire to reach senior management level, higher than the average of 38%, while 29% are looking to reach the c-suite (the average is 21%).

That might go some way to explaining why marketers are some of the most promiscuous employees, with 88% expecting to work for at least five organisations in their career, compared to 72% on average.

Clare Kemsley, managing director at Hays Marketing, says: “It’s encouraging to see marketers are highly ambitious, with many desiring to reach board level during their career. However, employers need to ensure they are looking for ways to nurture this and providing the work-life balance and positive career experience that their employees want.”

What do marketers want?

The research suggests marketers care about more than pay when choosing a place to be loyal to. While 40% of marketers say pay is the most important factor when considering a new job, this is lower than the UK average of 45%. And almost three-quarters (71%) say they would take a pay cut for better workplace culture, far higher than the 62% across other professions.

Would you take a pay cut for better workplace culture?

hays workplace culture

“What we see when we meet candidates is that the culture piece is really important for marketers,” adds Kemsley.

There is also high demand for training and development. Close to a fifth (19%) of marketers rate this as the most important aspect of receiving a promotion, while 37% say they would be willing to sacrifice a job offer if training wasn’t offered and 78% expect to receive third-party training from a future employer.

Yet just 37% say they receive support towards third-party training in their current role. Mentoring is also important to marketers, with 57% considering it when they look for their next role.

What employers need to do

The research suggests employers need to work harder to express and highlight their workplace culture to set them apart from competitors. While 94% of employers think they already do this, just 71% said this was actually the case.

They should also focus on areas beyond pay from as early in the job hiring process as possible, starting with job specifications.

Kemsley explains: “Employers need to make sure they discussing and promoting their workplace culture in interviews. They need to be explaining the DNA of the business and what the culture feels like to future employees. And doing this early on in the recruitment process.”

Explaining at the very first meeting what training and development opportunities there are is also key because it is such an important aspect of career progression for marketers. This is equally as important in retaining staff. According to the research, 50% of marketers are on the lookout for a new job as demand rises.

Employers need to make sure they discussing and promoting their workplace culture in interviews. They need to be explaining the DNA of the business.

Clare Kemsley, Hays

Marketers expect to receive training and they want a good work/life balance. Some 54% think they have a good balance now, compared to 51% across the wider UK workforce, but maintaining that is key to ensuring marketers enjoy their work and don’t look to move on.

Subsequently, Kemsley suggests looking at factors such as flexible working and restricting out-of-hours work. She concludes: “Employers should be aware of flexibility in working patterns for marketers and ask if they need to be sat at their desk all the time.

“What attracts a marketer to a job in the first place can be what keeps them there so don’t think once you’ve hired someone its job done!”