The Marketing Week/Ball & Hoolahan salary survey 2012

The restructuring of marketing departments is having a positive effect on the salaries of digital specialists in particular, but the pay difference between sectors remains marked. By Steve Hemsley and Roy Hoolahan.


Marketing departments could take on a whole new shape this year, with 53% of marketers expecting their teams to be restructured in the coming 12 months, according to the 2012 Marketing Week/Ball & Hoolahan Salary Survey.

This is in addition to the changes seen over 2011, with 63% of the 3,300 marketers surveyed saying their brand teams were restructured over the past year. British Gas, Thomson Holidays and the Football Association all restructured their marketing departments last month.

This restructuring appears to have had an adverse effect on salaries. While the average salary for a marketing director is up £2,500 to £77,799, they are effectively earning what they did in 2009. This is also well below the £82,300 earned in 2007. And marketing managers have seen their pay drop from an average of £41,300 in 2010 to £37,305 this year.

However, the high level of restructuring doesn’t seem to be solely because of costcutting. Marketing departments could be becoming more adaptable to staff needs than ever, with 59% in the survey saying their companies offer flexible working already and a further 42% are expecting them to offer such practices in the coming year.

Peter Markey, chief marketing officer at insurance giant RSA Group, which owns the More Than brand, says the progressive growth of digital channels and social media, as well as economic pressure, is forcing marketers to rethink their structures.

“Data, digital and even the brand used to sit in separate parts of the marketing department, but the lines between these elements are blurred today. As a result, marketing directors must rethink their team design,” he says. “Working in channel silos is not acceptable any more.”

Two-thirds of marketers say they will leave in search of more money but for about 70%, it is all about a new challenge

Zoe Howorth, market activation director of Coca-Cola GB agrees (see Viewpoint, below).

Markey says that marketers must be more flexible and be able to work across different disciplines if they want to earn big money.

“There is more pressure on marketers to widen their skill set and those that do so can potentially command a higher salary than others because they are more sought after,” he explains.

This could be borne out by the fact that a third of marketing directors think they will move jobs this year and 42% of marketing managers also see themselves taking on another role.

Two-thirds of marketers say they will leave in search of more money but for about 70%, it is all about a new challenge, with 41% feeling that opportunities are limited at their current employer.

Those with digital or research skills are seeing higher than average pay rises. Heads of research and insight report an average 6% rise to £69,170 while heads of digital or ecommerce are being paid 5% more than in 2010, (£56,755).

This compares with a 4% rise for a senior brand or product manager (£48,296) and 2% for heads of customer relationship management (CRM) or customer loyalty (£60,111).

Expedia’s senior marketing director Andrew Warner joined the company from LG Electronics in 2010 and is seeing the impact of digital expertise on industry salaries and the way marketing departments work.

63% of marketers say their teams were restructured in 2011 and 53% expect this to happen in 2012

“Digital marketing has seen a shortening of tenure among senior marketing staff and inflation in the salaries that digitally experienced senior marketers can command,” he says.

“A relatively small group of survivors from the original dotcom boom and bust have built on their experiences from those days. They have now reached the stage in their careers where they have accrued the skills and experience required of the most senior management roles.

“These lucky individuals are incredibly sought after because while there is an enormous influx of young, digital marketing talent within the industry, there are not that many senior marketers who have a combination of classical marketing training, leadership skills and are equipped to deal with the pace of digital change.

“We could see a pay polarisation between senior marketers who are equipped for the digital age and those who struggle,” he adds.

The finding that CRM executives are receiving relatively small pay increases surprises Natalie Henty, head of CRM at DIY chain Wickes. She is recruiting for a CRM manager and says this is one area of marketing where demand for skilled people remains high because brands focus more on keeping existing customers in a downturn.

“At Wickes, we are seeing more specialist roles being created. The marketing department now bears little resemblance to what it was five years ago,” she claims. “Finding anyone with the breadth to excel in a discipline that combines a strong analytical approach with a customer focus has been a challenge.”

She says there is a lack of specialist skills in the market, which is making recruitment for new roles a longer process. “[Digital] specialists are in greater demand than their generalist counterparts and the demand naturally drives higher salary expectations.”

Jon Goldstone, group marketing director at Premier Foods, has also experienced first hand the difficulty recruiting senior specialist talent. “We have only recently filled a group head of insights role, which had been vacant since October 2010,” he reports.

“It has become incredibly hard to attract some senior people. They have preferred to stay where they are because we could not offer them the money necessary to persuade them to join us.”

At the top end of the industry, the 50% tax band is inevitably taken into account when senior marketers are balancing the risk of switching to a new role, even when a financial inducement is on offer. The very top marketers, especially the digital and insight elite, are likely to be caught by the 50% tax band once bonuses and travel allowances are taken into account.

The pay gap between men and women is still evident, with male marketing directors earning £80,733 on average and women £74,241. However, the gap appears to be closing: in 2011, women earned £7,800 below the average salary but now the difference is £3,558.

Salary increases: click the table to enlarge

Women should not be afraid of pushing for more money, says Emma Freeman, marketing director at hairdressing chain Headmasters. “As women, we need to be more direct with our employers about what we want and our goals, and perhaps not accept the first offer,” she suggests.

Average salaries for the top 10% of senior marketing managers stand at £99,531 for men and £79,210 for women, while average salaries for marketing managers are £86,667 and £82,500. The top male heads of research and insight average £101,429 compared with £82,273 for women.

In an attempt to mirror prime minister David Cameron’s £2m measure of the nation’s happiness, this year’s salary survey asked marketers whether they were content with their lot. Everyone would like more money in their pocket but, overall, graduate trainees are the happiest (81%), a sign perhaps that they are just glad to be on the career ladder in the current economic climate. Across the entire survey, 18% said they are ‘very happy’, 49% are ‘happy’, 22% are ‘indifferent’ and 11% are ‘not happy at all’. In addition, 16% expect job losses this year and 14% feel their department will be merged with others.

But while the picture is one of change, marketing is still regarded as a great industry to work in, with 84% of respondents saying they will ‘definitely’ or are ‘very likely’ to stay in the profession for the next five years.

Key Stats

Note: Percentages have been rounded up to the nearest percentage point

of marketers say their teams were restructured in 2011 and 53% expect this to happen in 2012.

of marketing directors think they will move jobs this year and 42% of marketing managers also see themselves taking on a new role.

By the end of 2015, 77.4% of respondents expect to be in a new job. The most likely to move in 2012 are category marketing executives (52.4%). The least likely to move in 2012 are heads of CRM/loyalty (22.2%).

Communications directors reported the biggest pay rise of 7.5% in 2011. The average pay rise across the board in 2011 was 4.5%.

The amount earned by the top 10% of marketers, compared with £95,200 last year. The best rewarded marketing managers now earn £85,000, more than double the average of £37,305

The average pay rise marketers expect in the coming 12 months. The majority of marketers say their salaries went up in 2011, with only 24% saying it remained static. However, 31% saw a rise of less than 3%.

The number of respondents saying they received benefits in addition to their basic salary. This compares with 93% in 2002. However, almost half the marketers in this year’s survey prefer a higher basic salary and fewer benefits.

of marketers surveyed say they receive pension contributions from their employer – the most commonly enjoyed benefit. However, this figure is down on two years ago.

The average gender pay gap for marketers across all the regions surveyed (except Northern Ireland) is £11,465. The largest disparity is in the east of England at £17,791 while the region with the closest average is the north-west at £5,893.

of marketers surveyed have a company car. This compares with a figure of 44% in 2002.

of companies with flexible working patterns allow home working, yet in 2002 the figure was almost 80%.



Restructuring – Viewpoint

Zoe Howorth
Market activation director, Coca-Cola Great Britain


Restructuring is a part of life in marketing and that’s because the old marketing models are no longer effective – all consumers (not just edgy teens) consume media in a different way.

They are busier and have so much more to interact with. Cue the now normal scene of mum multitasking on her laptop with The X Factor in the background while she texts her best friend to make plans for next week.

Marketers need to stay current with their approach to communication. An understanding of social and digital media is essential because these are the new channels that people live among. But this must be complemented by an understanding of experiential marketing in the ‘real world’.

For example, for our Coke Christmas drive in 2011 we took the Christmas truck from our ad and travelled the length of Great Britain meeting more than 1 million people as well as building interactive content that resonated online through our Coke Zone website.

Knowing how to operate in both the online and offline world with the same campaign is an essential skill marketers will need in the future if they want to be in demand for the best jobs.

Title versus sector

Click the table to enlarge

It is not so much marketers’ seniority that helps increase their pay packets but what sector they work in. The average marketing director’s salary is £77,799, but this varies considerably by sector. In financial services, a marketing director earns an average of £107,000, while the figure is slightly higher for executive
working with automotive, cable and satellite and telecoms brands.

Following some way behind are marketing directors working for retail (£98,409) and FMCG (£95,155) brands. After those are the marketing directors working in the leisure (£67,353) and charity (£52,781) sectors, while marketing directors working in consultancies across most disciplines average well below £70,000.

For marketing managers, salaries also vary across sectors. A marketing manager at an alcohol brand earns an average of £53,091 whereas in FMCG, the figure is £45,328.

For those with skills that are in demand, such as insight managers, there is also a significant sector difference. An insight manager working for an FMCG brand earns on average £42,222, while the post in retail brings in £37,654 and in publishing £32,167.

Graduate trainees will also earn more depending on which sector they are recruited into. The overall average is £21,461, but it is higher in charities (£25,500) and financial services (£24,000).

The gender pay gap

Click the table to enlarge

There is some evidence that the pay gap between men and women is beginning to close. In FMCG, female marketing directors average £95,227, which puts them ahead of men, who average £95,111. The same is true for graduate trainees across the industry, with women earning more than their male counterparts.

Male entrants earn an average of £20,864 but women start on £21,900. This is a reversal of last year’s trend, when male graduates were earning £22,800 in contrast to women earning £21,400.

Hugh Burkitt, chief executive of The Marketing Society, says: “Sectors that are under-recruiting graduates now could be storing up wage inflation for the future when things pick up. I worry if entry-level salaries are not rising and I am concerned about the lack of male graduate talent coming into marketing. Starting salaries need to be higher across all sectors.”

And the likes of Procter & Gamble head of marketing Roisin Donnelly, Google strategic marketing director Sarah Speake, and Aviva chief marketing and communications officer Amanda Mackenzie, further demonstrate that women have the opportunity to reach the top of the marketing ladder.

However, the gender pay gap still remains, with the average male marketing director earning £80,733 compared with an average of £74,241 for women in similar roles.

For marketing managers, the figure is £39,625 for men and £36,364 for women. Even in areas where there are skill shortages, women seem unable to close the gap. Male heads of insight earn an average of £74,207, while women in similar roles earn an average salary of £64,300.

Emma Freeman, marketing director at hairdressing chain Headmasters, says brand owners need systems in place to monitor fair pay by gender.

“I, like a lot of women, do struggle with salary negotiation but I think we need to research more for comparable compensation,” she says.

Freeman says women can settle for what they believe others think they deserve, rather than what they want.

“We often feel we will cause offence if we don’t accept the first offer made but this is not necessarily the case. Women are fantastic at making and valuing relationships and we should use this to our advantage in salary negotiations.”

Salaries in the regions

Not surprisingly, marketers earn more in London than anywhere else in the country. The average marketing salary in the capital is £47,963, which is more than 45% higher than in Wales (£32,915).

The sample for Wales was much smaller than for the capital, but it demonstrates how London and the south-east (average salary £44,005) remains a magnet for ambitious marketers looking to work with big brands.

Marketers in Northern Ireland earn an average of £41,417, which is considerably higher than those in Scotland (£36,000) and in the north-east of England (£34,674).

The average salaries for the east of England (£40,531), the south-west (£39,244) and the West Midlands (£38,495) are relatively consistent, but the average figure for the north-west was lower than might be expected, at £37,242.

Average salaries for particular job titles also vary by region. A marketing director in London earns an average of £87,668, compared with £85,000 in Scotland and £54,000 in Wales, while marketing managers in the capital average £40,438 compared with £31,944 in Scotland and £31,800 in Wales.


The Marketing Week/Ball & Hoolahan Salary Survey is an authoritative guide to average (mean) pay, benefits and expectations in marketing.

This survey is a benchmark to inform marketers of their earning power and a valuable tool for employers looking to recruit and retain talent.

The survey was run on in November 2011 and analysed by Fusion Communications. There were 3,357 respondents. Some 92% of respondents are in full-time employment, with 42% involved in the services sector, 22% in manufacturing, 16% in media, 13% in agencies, 10% in consultancy and 22% in other sectors. Some 63% of responses are from men and 37% from women. The age profile is 13% under 26, 29% aged 26 to 30, 23% aged 31 to 35, 15% aged 36 to 40, 10% aged 41 to 45, 6% aged 46 to 50, and 4% over 51.



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