Salary Survey 2018: The top sectors to work in

Gaming and gambling emerges as the surprise leader in making marketers feel content and valued, while beauty and media come bottom of the pile.

A good working environment, opportunities for progression, a business that appreciates your value and fair financial remuneration – all are elements which signify a great industry to work for.

Although marketers may have differing priorities for what constitutes happiness, some industries stand out as leading the way in financial rewards, advancement and appreciation of marketing’s value, according to the annual Marketing Week Career and Salary Survey.

The study of 4,154 respondents across 24 different industries, ranging from graduates to board directors, finds gaming and gambling is the happiest industry for marketers. Some 60.7% of respondents in the sector say they are quite happy or very happy in their role, followed by the automotive sector (59.9%) and travel and transport (58.9%).

Former CMO and chief customer officer at Ladbrokes Coral Group, Kristof Fahy, believes the gambling industry is a good fit for anyone keen to work in a fiercely competitive, fast-paced environment where marketing can make a tangible difference on a daily basis.

“Liverpool vs Chelsea on Saturday afternoon is an event where there are 20 or 30 companies in the UK offering betting opportunities, but actually the event is nothing to do with you as a company, so you have to stand out from the crowd to get a share of customers,” he explains.

“Once that event is over, you’re on to the next one. You are not waiting for a product update. The best thing about betting is you’re on a daily cycle, if not an hourly one. I like that pace and I’m not sure everybody does, but if you love that kind of pressure then betting and gaming is a great place to be.”

Marketing has become central to the running of gambling and gaming businesses as they have been disrupted by digital. So while the fundamental product is the same, marketing makes the difference to whether a gambling brand succeeds or fails.

“Also, the percentage of revenue spent on marketing is often over 25%-30%, which means as a function within the business you get a lot of attention,” explains Fahy. “That can be positive and negative, but if you get it right it’s amazing and if you get it wrong you know very quickly, which means you can do something about it quickly too.”

READ MORE: How marketing salaries stack up in 2019

The unhappiest sectors

In contrast to gambling and gaming, beauty has emerged as the unhappiest industry for marketers, with 35.7% of respondents saying they are not happy at all or quite unhappy in their current role. This is followed by marketers working at a media owner (35%) and in the construction/property sector (30.2%).

The unhappiness being experienced by marketers in the beauty industry exists despite the fact 69% of respondents in this sector say their employer is fairly good or very good at giving them opportunities to advance their career – the highest of any industry.

Natasha Curtin, marketing director at cosmetics brand Benefit, has a more positive view of the sector than that of her peers.

“It certainly doesn’t reflect how I feel about the beauty industry. From a consumer point of view, they are the savviest and know the most about products. I get to work with consumers who are that engaged, so it’s a brilliant place to do marketing.”

What a shame to think people are getting their dream job in the media industry and that’s not living up to their expectations.

Zoe Clapp, UKTV

The fact 35% of respondents working at a media owner say they are unhappy in their roles is likewise a disappointment to UKTV’s CMO, Zoe Clapp. “I was surprised by this figure because of the high number of people wanting to work in the media industry from a graduate level,” she says.

“Roles in media are growing; across the creative industry there are 5% more new roles created in the last year and what a shame to think people are getting their dream job in the media industry and that’s not living up to their expectations.”

Clapp believes there is no more relevant industry than media and therefore the sector is doing itself a disservice by not keeping its employees happy. She says UKTV prioritises the health of its company culture by listening to the workforce through company-wide surveys, the latest of which received an 85% response rate.

“If people believe they will be listened to, they fill in those sorts of things, and if they don’t think they’ll be listened to they don’t bother and you lose that engagement,” adds Clapp. “So truly listening to employees, taking a really robust view of that data and making changes based on it would make the industry a happier place.”

Opportunity for advancement

The opportunity to advance their career is very important to marketers in fashion (72.2%), entertainment (72%) and retail and wholesale (71.3%). The best industries, however, for helping marketers progress are beauty (69%), gaming and gambling (67.9%) and telecoms (65.6%).

The least progression is being experienced by marketers working at media owners where less than half (48.9%) say their employer is good at offering them advancement, followed by the charity/not-for-profit sector (49.3%) and construction/property (50.3%).

Curtin believes the size of the marketing department at Benefit is crucial in offering marketers varied progression opportunities, as digital, social, ecommerce, PR and experiential are all carried out in-house.

Looking at the travel and leisure industry, Ryanair CMO, Kenny Jacobs believes part of the reason why 59.7% of marketers feel their employer is fairly good or very good at providing progression comes from the new roles emerging as the sector becomes more digitally focused.

“We have digital roles for people in Ryanair Rooms which last year we wouldn’t have had,” he explains.

“When I started here, we were about bringing people from the outside in and generally now I would prefer to promote people from within, because there are things that are unique to the Ryanair culture and it doesn’t suit everybody. Quite often you’re better off hiring the person that was right under your nose.”

READ MORE: Is CMO succession in crisis?

The fact that only 48.9% of marketers working at a media owner say their employer is giving them fresh career opportunities disappoints UKTV’s Clapp.

Her business abolished annual appraisals in 2016 in favour of a six-weekly MyPB personal development plan.

“No longer do we have 20-year-olds who have to wait a year to get a bit of feedback. It’s structured and every one of our managers is trained in how to coach and mentor everyone who works for them,” she explains.

“We put in place a six-weekly system where people make sure they are not only on track to achieve the goals for their business, but to achieve their own goals for their career.”

All about the environment

Working environment is another essential measure of the happiness of marketers within any industry. Gambling and gaming, the happiest sector, is also the industry offering the best working environment, according to 79.6% marketers.

However, Kristof Fahy believes that if marketers had been asked that question 10 years ago, the answer might have been different. “When I joined William Hill [in 2010], they called the marketing team the crayon department to their face, it wasn’t a behind-the-scenes thing,” he recalls.

“Now people have realised that marketing is the team that brings customers to the door and that has become quite a powerful message.”

READ MORE: Trends for 2018 – Marketing will finally shake off its ‘colouring-in department’ image

Travel and leisure is the second-best industry for providing marketers with a good working environment (78.1%), followed by travel and transport in third place (77.9%). Jacobs believes that the good working environment is driven by the perception that people in travel and leisure are highly motivated and always have the opportunity to be going places.

“For a lot of people in my team there’s an element of travel with their role, so they know they will never be in one place for the entire month. Travelling with the role is a natural foundation for people being quite motivated by the working environment,” explains Jacobs.

“You have got to create the right environment for your particular company, but there are elements we have adopted over the past five years since we embraced digital that we didn’t have before, which have really made a difference in attracting, retaining and developing some of the digital roles.”

People have realised that marketing is the team that brings customers to the door and that has become quite a powerful message.

Kristof Fahy, Ladbrokes Coral Group (formerly)

By contrast, beauty scores lowest among marketers for providing a good working environment (66%), followed by consumer electronics (67%) and education (68.1%). This finding does not resonate with Curtin, who believes the big difference at Benefit comes from the team making sure that the brand feels the same inside and out.

“We have a Culture Club at Benefit whose role is to keep the ‘laughter is the best cosmetic’ DNA alive. So we will go to watch Wimbledon together or make sure everyone in head office or in the field are the first to try new products,” she explains.

Curtin also points to the fact that Benefit does not do traditional advertising, instead focusing on real-life, in-house led experiential marketing. For example, the GlastonBrow pop-up ‘brow bar’ for Glastonbury was run by the events team, which devised the concept.

“It feels like everyone is as close to the consumer as possible and you own your idea until you deliver it,” she explains. “Personally, that would be an important thing to make me feel fulfilled, versus sitting in a really nice office, but not getting to see my lovely product come to life.”  

Look out for more from Marketing Week’s Career and Salary Survey being published throughout the week. 

  • The 2018 Marketing Week Career and Salary Survey analysed the responses of 4,154 marketers from 24 different industries including agencies and consultancies, the automotive sector, entertainment, FMCG, financial, telecoms, sport and travel. The seniority of the respondents ranged from graduates and marketing assistants to senior managers, board directors and partners. This is a nationwide sample of UK marketers, including digital specialists. In all cases relating to pay marketers were asked to give their basic wage, excluding bonuses and benefits.