Inflation has surged over the last year, putting pressure on businesses as they struggle with increased costs and an economy where consumers are less willing to spend. Despite these financial challenges, research suggests that many businesses are increasing marketing salaries ahead of inflation.
Data from recruitment agency Aspire shared exclusively with Marketing Week, suggests that for most marketing roles, salaries are increasing ahead of inflation.
In pure-play marketing roles, senior marketing managers led the way, with average salary increases that were almost 50% higher than the rate of inflation. Between April 2022 and April 2023, the average salary for the role increased 15.4% across the year, from £65,000 in 2022 to £75,000 in 2023.
For marketing directors or heads of marketing, the average salary had increased by 11.1% to £100,000 in April 2023. Again, outpacing the rate of inflation.
Aspire, which specialises in the marketing and digital media sectors, analysed salaries across various roles and sectors based on vacancies registered between April 2022 and April 2023.
Junior marketing managers saw significant average salary growth of 9.1% between 2022 and 2023; however, unlike their more senior counterparts this rate does not keep up with that of inflation.
Organisations are prepared to pay more for experienced marketers with the requisite skills says Aspire global managing director Terry Payne.
“As employers compete for skilled marketers we’re also seeing higher rates of pay at the senior end of the spectrum; more experienced candidates are commanding higher-percentage pay rises than those who are entering the jobs market at a lower level,” he says.
Since the pandemic, recruiters have reported a shortage of suitable candidates to fill roles. Indeed, in May 2022 the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported more job vacancies across the UK than unemployed people for the first time. While the number of vacancies has decreased in the year since, it still remains difficult for many employers to recruit suitable candidates.
Speaking to Marketing Week in reaction to findings from the 2023 Career and Salary Survey, Cancer Research executive director for fundraising and marketing, Philip Almond said some marketers have been choosing to retire early in the years since the pandemic.
“Previously it has been an employer’s market and now it’s very much an employee’s market in terms of there are more options open to people than there are people to fill them,” he said.
With more competition for employees, employers may be incentivised to offer higher wages, particularly for more senior, skilled marketers.
While marketing directors are the best-paid out of the roles analysed, it is roles in content which saw the largest percentage increases in salary between this year and last. Senior copywriters saw pay go up by one fifth to £60,000 in 2023, while content executive pay increased 17% in the year.
That being said, junior copywriters saw the lowest salary increase of any of the roles analysed. It increased 6% to £35,000 in 2023. The gulf between senior and junior copywriting roles perhaps signifies demand for skills in this area.
In Marketing Week’s 2023 Career and Salary Survey, content-focused roles were found to be the most in-demand by businesses, with 25.3% of marketers reporting hiring increases for content managers at their companies. Content and copywriting skills were also identified as a skills gap by 21.4% of respondents, the second-biggest skills gap listed.
Almost half of respondents to Marketing Week’s Career and Salary Survey reported they had got a salary increase in 2022.
Figures from recruitment agency Robert Walters find that 79% of professional services firms report they gave employees a pay rise in 2023. However, on average that pay rise was between 4 to 6%, far below the rate of inflation.
This would suggest the marketing industry is seeing greater salary increases compared to others. The Office for National Statistics found that in 2022, the professional and scientific industry was the only sector where wage increases kept pace with inflation.